The expectation of every Civil Servant is to receive his/her salaries at the end of every month. Similarly it is expected that upon retirement, they would be paid their gratuity and pension regularly. However, this has remained a mirage as most often, salaries and pensions are left unpaid for months.
Observations show that many retired Civil Servants both at the Federal and State levels stay for months without these entitlements, a situation which had allegedly led many to their untimely death. This situation is often blamed on lack of funds, by appropriate authorities.
Recently President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kani Adesun and the Governor of Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele to release the second tranche of the London – Paris club refunds to states as bailout to settle unpaid salaries and pensions .
The President urged the governors to among other things, use the funds to clear arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuity to ease the sufferings of Nigerian workers and retirees. This directive has continued to generate mixed reactions from both retired and serving workers. A cross section of serving and retired civil servants in Enugu in a chat with Radio Nigeria urged the Governors to use the fund judiciously as well as show accountability and transparency.
Two Civil servants with the Enugu State Government, Mrs. Evangeline Ekoh and Mrs. Stella Eze said the directive could not have come at a better time.
‘’Infact I was really excited when I heard it over the news and went on to read it in the newspaper’’.
‘’ I will like if they will go direct to what the President said because some people are dying because of no payment of their pension or gratiuity.’’
Also, two retired Civil servants from the State Civil Service, Mr. Festus Madunechesi and Mrs. Florence Nnadi appealed for the speedy implementation of the directive and judicious use of the fund by the State Governors.
‘’During the regime of the former Governor, we learnt that gratuity were paid every month in batches, but since the new government, nobody has ever talked about gratuity. One thing is making a policy in this country, next is implementing it.’’
‘’ If that money is released and is judiciously used, it will just resuscitate the dying ones.’’
For some serving Federal Civil Servants, Dr. Joseph Amah and Mr. Alpheus Odoh, the directive was laudable. They called for its adequate implementation. They however, urged the Federal Government to look into the plight of its members of staff who had similar challenges.
Also, two retirees from the Federal Civil Service, Mr. Ngwoke Ngwoke and Mr. Francis Aham said it was worrisome that retired Federal workers could be owed for long and urged the Federal Government to extend its magnanimity to them.
‘’It is encouraging that the Federal Government has done this towards the states. It gives me hope that maybe there is something also coming for the Federal workers.’’
‘’That announcement is not clear with me because others that retired before me don’t take up to six months, they pay them but my own is a year and now.’’
The respondents stated that the directive showed that President Muhammadu Buhari was sensitive to the plight and yearnings of the people. They encouraged relevant stakeholders to ensure strict compliance with the directive to alleviate the sufferings of everyone concerned.