The families of Plateau civil servants who died in active service have appealed to Gov Simon Lalong to pay the death benefits of their loved ones before the expiration of his tenure on May 29.
Mr Bryan Luka, the representative of the affected families, made the appeal in an interview on Wednesday.
Luka, who expressed sadness that the state government had failed to heed to their pleas for the entitlements, decried that some of the relatives were being owed for more than 18 years.
He added that the current economic hardship in the country had compounded their problems, a situation he said led to the death of some of the relatives.
He said, “With a deep sense of respect, widows and orphans of deceased civil servants on the Plateau are suffering silently and dying in these hard times.
“Some of us have lost both parents, while some have been waiting for these benefits for over 18 years, and so we call on the governor to come to our aid.
“Our children will go back to school, we will die of starvation if we do not have food to eat; we cannot go to the hospitals because we cannot afford the expensive medical bills.
‘“We call on the governor to show compassion and pay these benefits of our loved ones who laboured meritoriously for the state, even if it is half payment, it will go a long way to cushion our current hardship.”
Luka also called on the members of the House of Assembly and representatives of the state in the National Assembly, religious and traditional leaders and labour unions to intervene in the matter and push the government to heed to their plea.
It was learnt that the group had in September, 2022, called on the state government through a media publication to pay the benefits.
In October, 2022, the group also organised a special prayer session towards the same goal.
But Mr Sunday Hyat, Head of Civil Service (HoS) in the state, had then pleaded with the beneficiaries to exercise patience as the government was doing everything possible to clear the backlog of the entitlements.
Hyat explained that the current administration in the state inherited N18bn as backlog of pension, gratuities and death benefits of retired and deceased civil servants in the state.
The HoS, however, promised that the Lalong administration would clear all outstanding benefits before the expiration of its tenure. (NAN)