RETIREES EULOGISE GOV EMMANUEL FOR 2 BILLION NAIRA APPROVAL AND PROMPT PAYMENTS OF PENSION
…Pension Board Chairman says all is set to commence payment of all entitlements of retirees
… Head of Service, Commissioner for Local Government, ors salute retirees for past service, commend Gov Emmanuel for digitalisation of local government pension system
More than four thousand retirees of the Unified Local Government Service of Akwa Ibom State on Monday thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State for recently approving 2 billion naira while releasing one billion naira for the payment of benefits due retirees in the State. The retirees spoke during the 2022 verification exercise/ distribution of security encoded identity for pensioners held on Monday at Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The digital verification exercise which is designed to properly identify authentic pensioners using finger print and facial recognition technology, was introduced in 2021 in the bid to weed out ghost pensioners and make payment process easier. During the flag-off exercise for 2022, four thousand two hundred pensioners were set to receive the security encoded6 identity card while retirees for the year 2022 commenced verification for issuance of their cards. According to the Executive Secretary of the Local Government Pensions Board, Mrs Emem Umoh, pensioners who missed the exercise last year are allowed to participate in 2022.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Local Government Commission, Honourable Monday Eyo hinted that governor Udom Emmanuel had approved the sum of two billion naira for the payment of entitlements due retirees affirming that one billion of that money has so far been released by the governor for onward payment. Eyo assured that with the governor’s commitment to paying every entitlements owed retirees, that more approvals and monies will be released by the governor in the coming weeks.
On his part, the Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien commended the digitalisation of the Local Government Pensions System, saying that it will be effective in curbing fraud as well as transform a once tedious process to an easy and seamless one. The Head of Service gave the assurance of the Akwa Ibom State Government on improving the welfare of both retired and active civil servants. “This verification exercise isn’t to punish anybody, it is for transparency. Fraud reported in the past has made this necessary. We are hoping that we will get to the point where we won’t bring out and expose our Senior citizens to this harsh condition for verification. Technology is improving and as it improves, we will position the service to employ the latest technology towards making lives easier for you all”, he said.
As their response, the retirees numbering more than four thousand sent goodwill message to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, saying the governor has kept to promises made to retirees. The retirees spoke through the Chairman of Association For The Welfare of Local Government Retirees, Elder Emmanuel Usoroh who made it known that some retirees had died without being paid gratuities owed by previous government, appealing to Governor Udom Emmanuel to be relentless in his commitment to paying all entitlements of retired workers. Elder Usoroh prayed for the successful completion of the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel while thanking him for keeping to his promises to retirees.
The Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (local government), Dr Mrs Uduak Etim Uduakeya collaborated the position of the earlier Speaker when she affirmed that pension has been more prompt under Governor Udom Emmanuel. “What is happening around us today has never happened. We want to appreciate Governor Udom Emmanuel for keeping to his promises. I can assure that if you were screened, you will be paid every benefits due you “.
In an interactive session with the press, the Executive Secretary of Local Government Pensions Board , Mrs Emem Umoh disclosed that the Akwa Ibom State Government was up to date with the payment of pension. “We are not owing a penny. We want anybody who says he or she has been owed pension to come out public and we will take it up “.
Mrs Emem Umoh thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for his efforts that has transformed the local government pension system to be more effective. “May I use this medium to express our deep appreciation to His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel whose pursuit to digitize the service has driven us to review our processes system. By the magnanimity gesture, the Government of Akwa Ibom State; the Local Government Pensions Board is one of the foremost offices in the State that is fully automated…In order to verify more than 4,300 pensioners of the Unified Local Government Service who are in our payroll, we have scheduled based on their Local Government Areas of their retirement where six biometric capturing machines will be simultaneously deployed and the retirees verified using their facial and fingerprints recognition. It is important to note that this new system uses Near Field Technology which offers us the leverage to be able to verify sick and very weak Retirees at their locations ” she said.
Mrs Umoh ended her address on the occasion of Flag-off Session of the 2022 Verification Exercise/Distribution of Security Encoded Identity For Pensioners by thanking all participants, especially, The Head of Service, Elder Effiong Essien, The Chairman of Local Government Service Commission, Honourable Monday Eyo,The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Honourable Frank Archibong who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Elder Ino Eki, amongst other dignitaries.