Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River state has vowed to clear, before the end of December 2023, the backlog of over N24 billion outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants since 2014.
Speaking while swearing in new Head of Service, Dr Innocent Ebri Eteng, Wednesday, the governor said it was sad that somebody would work for 34 years, pay all the contributory pensions and leave the scene during retirement without his entitlements.
“We will not want such a situation to continue again in this state. Such a situation where those who worked for 35 years would die without their entitlements will not continue henceforth.
“I want to assure Cross River people that before the year 2023 ends, my government will offset outstanding gratuities and pensions,” he stated.
The governor revealed that appointment of Dr Eteng as head of service was by virtue of civil service rule, and did not come with any form of political gimmicks.
He said Eteng was the most senior permanent secretary in the state civil service and was well qualified and experienced, stating further that most of his appointees, if not all, were round pegs in round holes, and well qualified.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. You have come in at a time when the state civil service is at precarious level; where very large numbers of civil servants are returning at end of the year. Of course, we are looking at how to retain some of them,” he said.