No fewer than 20 pensioners in Akwa Ibom State are said to have met their untimely death while many others are either bedridden, abandoned or forced out of their homes in the last one year as a result of non-payment of their pension and gratuities.
The Sensor exclusively gathered that most of the affected pensioners are retired primary school teachers and retirees of local government areas in the state.
It was further gathered that the senior citizens have not received their pensions in the last fourteen months, thus, the resultant deaths that have taken them due to lack of money to take care of their health needs.
A retired teacher who gave his name simply as Elder Essien said he and his follow retirees have suffered so much since July last year. He regretted that as someone who had put in his best in service to state and nation, he has been abandoned to his fate on retirement.
Elder Effiong therefore made a passionate appeal to the governor in the spirit of celebration of his one year in office, to look into the plight of the retirees.
A retired Director in the State Universal Basic Education Board, Bishop Aniekan Usoro lamented to our correspondent that since he retired from service without collecting his entitlements, life has been difficult for him. He called on the governor whom he describes as a passionate leader to come to the aid of the retirees.
Another affected retiree, Solomon Umoh who spoke with our correspondent from his hospital bed, said that he did not receive his promotion arrears since 2012 until he retired last year.
Umoh who is being admitted in an undisclosed hospital in the state, regretted that he has suffered so much in his hospital bed as a result of lack of money to take proper treatment.
A retiree from the local government service told our correspondent that life has been so cruel to him as a result of lack of money to take care of his family. According to him, “Since I retired from service without collecting my entitlements, life has been very difficult for me and my family. I had never bargained for a situation like this. I am therefore pleading with the governor to look into the plight of pensioners in the state. It is not a crime to serve one’s fatherland and retired.”
The Sensor learnt that those who were affected by digital capturing machine before their retirement also have bitter stories to tell as they have been made to suffer untold hardship.
It would be recalled that in a recent interview on Channels Television to herald the 2016 Democracy Day, Governor Udom admitted that though he does not owe salaries to workers, he still has issues with gratuities and pension of retirees.