Joseph Odey, 26, an indigene of Yala Local Government Area of Cross River, on Wednesday, August 14th protested the non-payment of his late father’s gratuity valued at N13 million, threatening to commit suicide if the government delays further.
Odey, who spoke to journalists during his protest at the governor’s office in Calabar, said his deceased father, Anthony Odey, served the Cross River Government for 32 years. He added that his father’s last post, was Principal of Government Secondary School, Ebo in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River. According to him, his father died on Dec.12, 2015, three years before his retirement from service.
“Following his sad death, I commenced processing the papers for payment of his benefits, completed it in 2017 and received official approval in January 2018.
After waiting for another year and no payment was made to my family by the government, I approached the accountant-general of the state about the matter but he told me that no payment was being considered.
“He added that there was a backlog of pending payments stretching back to 2014, all awaiting the governor’s approval. Following this disclosure, I have attempted several times to bring this issue to the governor’s attention, but failed as all messages to that effect were not answered.
“My late father’s gratuity is N13 million and I have the blueprint which I got from the Office of the Accountant- General of the state. My family has been facing hard times since the death of our father who was the breadwinner of the family.
“My two immediate younger sisters at different levels of study in the university are on the verge of dropping out, while the third who passed WAEC and JAMB exams this year faces an uncertain future due to our financial incapacitation”, he said.
He appealed to Governor Ben Ayade to ensure the settlement of the gratuity to enable his siblings to live a decent life. The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Christian Ita, said the present administration inherited a backlog of gratuities from 2013 while reacting to Odey’s protest.
He said the payments for 2013 had been concluded while the ones for 2014 were being paid in batches.
“The state would definitely pay, what is delaying the payment is a function of money, but it will pay since the young man has gone through the whole process with the office of the accountant-general”, he said.