The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has told the people of the state to reject anyone who wants to grab political power in the state through violence.
“Any one, and I repeat anyone, who, for selfish political purposes, wants to reverse this peace, must, and will be rejected,” Mr Emmanuel said in a statewide Christmas broadcast on Saturday.
“Anyone who aims to grab power through the instrument of violence must be stopped and rejected.”
The governor who described Christmas as the season of peace said the state will never go back to the years of “politically motivated violence again.”
‘Gratuity is a national issue’
The governor said those who have taken the issue of retired civil servants’ gratuity to social media are armed with little knowledge and are aimed at misinforming the public.
Mr Emmanuel said other tiers of government are also struggling to pay gratuities.
“The issue of gratuity is a national problem. We are a mere subnational and even other higher layers of government are struggling with the issue of the payment of gratuities,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel said his administration has paid gratuity from 2002 to 2011, despite the paucity of funds
Next of Kin of retired primary school teachers in the state have on several occasions taken to the streets in Uyo to protest the non-payment of benefits of their late relatives.
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This newspaper in August reported how the police in the state teargassed protesting relatives of retired primary school teachers who barricaded the entrance of the Akwa Ibom State Government House.
Mr Emmanuel has always maintained that payment of the gratuities of retired primary school teachers is the duty of the local government, and not the state government. He repeated this in his Christmas Day broadcast.
“People must not lose sense of the fact that we operate a three-tier government structure: Federal, State and Local Government. Primary Education and Primary Health Care are under the Third Tier of Government and in spite of this we have regularly intervened in the payment of salaries and other benefits,” the governor said.
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