Akwa Ibom State Government has received a pat on the back following the recent payment of arrears of gratuity benefits to pensioners in the State.
The commendation was the high point of the solidarity visit by the Nigerian Union of Pensioners(NUP) to the Commissioner for Finance ,Mr. Akan Okon, in Uyo.
Speaking during the visit, the State Chairman of the Union, Elder Ettetor Uwah, lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for starting his administration on a sound note.
He said through Governor Emmanuel’s instrumentality, pensioners have been given a rare of hope and a new lease of life by rescuing them from what he termed the myriads of stigmatization that had bedeviled them over the years.
Elder Uwah however appealed to the State government to look into the pending issue occasioned by the non-review of their pension in line with the 1999 constitution that stipulates pension review every five years. He solicited the re-constitution of Harmonization Committee earlier set up by the previous administration to address the case.
Responding, the Commissioner, Mr. Akan Okon hailed the NUP for appreciating excellence in service,noting that gratitude propels inspiration.
The Commissioner stated that Governor Emmanuel’s administration accords priority to the welfare of Akwa Ibom citizenry, which informed prompt payment of salaries ,pensions , and the recent clearance of backlog of gratuities which had spanned over a decade in spite of the lean resources.
He assured that pensioners would be given a pride of place in this dispensation, and sued for their continuous support to spur more delivery of democratic dividends to the people.
On his part, the Secretary of the union, Obong Cosmos Essien, said they were highly impressed by the impeccable performance of Governor Emmanuel ‘s administration within this short while.
He particularly thanked the Governor for his effort to address the plight of Primary School Teachers and Local Government Pensioners ,and pledged the resolve of the entire union to stand by him all the way.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner also played host to Akwa Ibom Youth Parliament, Itu State Constituency , where he called on youths to be good ambassadors of the state by shunning negative tendencies and engaging in productive ventures.
Describing the youths as future leaders, the commissioner said government places high premium on youth development and has initiated policies and programs for youth empowerment. He said the recent sponsorship of the first badge of 100 youths to Israel was to acquire skills that would make them economically viable,urging them to be focused in order to realize their God given potentials.
The leader of the group,Peace Edem said the visit was to felicitate the Commissioner on his reappointment, and to also support his bid to implement government policies that would yield positive result in the state.
He also solicited his assistance to enable them carry out their legislative proceedings effectively.