Families Of Diseased Plateau Workers Organise Prayer Against Non-Payment Of Benefits

The families of deceased civil servants in Plateau who died in active service have come together to arrange special prayers of intercession so that the state government will pay the death benefits of their dead loved ones.

Mr. Bryan Luka, who spoke on behalf of the families, said that many relatives of deceased workers were not paid their entitlements for many years.

He revealed that the three-day prayer session would seek God’s intervention on the lingering issue that had affected the relatives of the dead.

”Many of us have been pushing for the benefits of our loved ones who died in active service in this state for many years.

”So, this prayer session is to specially commit our dear governor, Head of Service, members of House of Assembly and all those concerned, for God to enable them have compassion on us.

”We have suffered enough on the account of this struggle, many lost their lives too and we want it no more.

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“We have gathered in unison devoid of religious affiliations to sincerely seek God’s intervention,” he said.

The Head of Civil Service (HoS) in the state, Mr. Sunday Hyat, pleaded with the beneficiaries to exercise patience “as goverment is doing everything possible to clear the backlogs of the entitlements”.

He explained that the current administration in the state inherited N18 billion as backlogs of pension, gratuities, and death benefits of retired and deceased civil servants in the state.

He explained that the backlogs of the entitlements included those of previous military regimes and civilian administrations.

“The entitlements of retired and deceased civil servants have accumulated for several years, covering different administrations, and has amounted to huge figures.

“By the time this government came in, the figures had gone up to more than N18 billion.

“Gratuities is N12 billion, pension arrears N3 billion, and death benefits about N3 billion,” he said

Hyat clarified that the current administration in the state on the assumption of duty immediately began the payment of pension, but stressed that the paucity of funds had remained a huge challenge in that regard.

”You will give this goverment credit because it is one very few administrations that has made payment of pension a priority.

“Today, pension is paid before salaries; as I speak we are up-to-date with the payment of pension to retirees.

“Realising that we cannot solve the problem entirely because of shortage of funds, the government approached United Capital, a financial firm to offer promissory notes to the beneficiaries.

“These promissory notes will enable retirees and families of deceased civil servants access their money at discounted rates and goverment will repay the financial institution,” he explained.