The families of deceased civil servants in Plateau, who died in active service, have organised special prayers to intercede for them so that the state government will pay death benefits of their loved ones.
Bryan Luka, who spoke on behalf of the families, noted that many relatives of deceased workers were not paid their entitlements for many years.
He explained 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 to have compassion on us.
“We have suffered enough on account of this struggle, many lost their lives too and we want it no more. We have gathered in unison devoid of religious affiliations to sincerely seek God’s intervention,” he said.
But Sunday Hyat, the Head of Civil Service (HoS) in the state, pleaded with the beneficiaries to exercise patience “as government is doing everything possible to clear the backlogs of the entitlements.”
He explained that the current administration 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.
Mr Hyat explained that the current administration in the state on assumption of duty, immediately began the payment of pension, but decried that paucity of funds had remained a huge challenge in that regard.
“You will give this government credit because it is one of 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 payment of pension to retirees.
“Realising that we cannot solve the problem entirely because of shortage of funds, 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 government will repay the financial institution,” he explained.
Source: Peoples Gazette.