Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, has announced the release of one billion naira for settlement of outstanding gratuities of retired primary school teachers in the state.
The governor has also announced that he is making available 800 million naira for payment of outstanding leave grants to workers.
Governor Umo Eno made this known while addressing members of the organized labour in the state who stormed the State Government House while protesting the negative impact of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.
He commended Labour for keeping the protest peaceful and objective, stating that the government, in line with the tenets of democracy and the rule of law, was not against the people driving down their demands in a manner permissible by the law.
Pastor Eno who thanked the workers for their support to him during the elections, said, he was committed to improving on their welfare and wellbeing.
“I want to commend in a very serious terms the leadership of Labor for not allowing criminals to hijacked the protest because anything we destroy that belong to government belong to all of us. This is very peaceful, very commendable, we are in a democracy when people want to express themselves, peaceful protest is allowed, to carry all this placard is allowed but what is not allowed is when it snowballs into criminality.”
He assured the people that the State government, with the A.R.I.S.E agenda as a constant reminder of it’s indebtedness to serving them, was already putting measures in place to ameliorate the suffering of the people and urged them to be patient as the administration’s plan for workers will keep unfolding.
The governor affirmed that the federal government has already released some palliatives to states which Akwa Ibom will soon take delivery of, adding that the state government is constituting a Palliative Committee, with membership drawn from various sectors including the organized labour and government, to work out modalities for distributing palliatives within 10 days.
“What we will do is to immediately set up a palliative committee and we will bring organized labour in there, with government so that we can sit together, know what the Federal government is bringing and what the state will add.
Give us the next ten days let this committee sit. We will come out and announce clearly the things we are doing, the governor said.”
The governor was accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Enobong Uwah, Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien, Dean of College of Commissioners, Sir Monday Ebong Uko, and other members of the State Executive Council.
The State Chairman Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Sunny James, who presented the worker’s demand to Governor Eno, frowned at the lackadaisical attitude of the federal government towards the welfare of the people.
Similarly, Chairman Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Dominic Abang, harped on the importance of functional refineries to the economy and the need to release palliatives to Micro Small and Medium enterprises to stimulate the economy, salary increments, among others.
The protesting workers carried placards with inscriptions such as Reverse Recent Hike in Petrol Price, CNG mass transit buses for workers, Resuscitate Refineries, Salary Award For Workers, Payment of Gratuity to Workers, among others.