By Endurance Onun:
A Cross Riverian from Yala Local Government Area, aged 26, Mr. Joseph Odey, today, stagged a lone protest in front of Governor’s Office, Calabar over the State Government’s unwillingness to pay his family the benefits and gratuity owed the late father and breadwinner who died in active service sometime in 2015.
Mr. Joseph who left his house early this morning for the Governor’s Office stood opposite the entrance with a placard for about three(3) hours before the state governor, Sen. Ben Ayade authorized a delegation led by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Security, Dr. Alfred Mboto to meet him for a talk.
According to Joseph, his late father, Mr. Onah Anthony Odey who died few months to his retirement having invested 32 years in service of Cross River State Government as a teacher and principal of Government Secondary School Ebo, Yala LGA was the breadwinner of their family and since his demise, life has not been anything fair for them.
“My family has been facing hard times since the death of our father who was the breadwinner. 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,” Joseph explained to CrossRiverDaily at the venue.
Mr. Joseph explained that he, as the next-of-kin, has done all necessary documentation for collection of the said gratuity, howthat, only the Governor’s approval was left before the family could see life again.
“Following my father’s death, I commenced processing the paperwork 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 and that there is a backlog of pending payments stretching back to 2014, all awaiting the Governor’s approval.
“Following this disclosure, I attempted several times to bring the Governor’s attention to the issue but all messages to that effect were unanswered,” he said.
Struggling Joseph said his outing today was to appeal for the Governor’s approval for payment, otherwise, he said he has decided to make it a point of duty to continuously come around the State House.
“My purpose here today is to make this public appeal to Governor Benedict Ayade – Your Excellency, kindly let my family have the chance to live a decent life by giving the authorization for us to be paid.
“I will be here with my placard every day, come rain or shine, until the approval is given,” Odey assured.
Responding to Odey, Dr. Alfred Mboto, on behalf of the Governor explained the challenges regarding gratuity the administration is facing, consequent upon which his [Odey’s] family was yet to receive their due.
However, Dr. Alfred assured Odey that he was going to relay all his prayers to the Governor and something will be done about his agitations.
He further collected Odey’s credentials and requested that Odey should return back to the Governor’s Office tomorrow with all the necessary documents in other to fast track the payment while appealing to Odey to leave the vicinity as a sign of subscribing to his [Alfred’s] terms.
Odey, while leaving told CrossRiverDaily that he was going to do according to all that they have said but that if nothing was done about it, he will not fail to resume his protest.