ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has announced a cash reward of N1 million each to 30 retired permanent secretaries in the state.
Diri said the cash gift was a token of appreciation from the government for their meritorious service to the state and the nation.
The Bayelsa governor, who stated this at a send-off organised by the Bayelsa State Permanent Secretaries Forum in Yenagoa, appealed to the former top civil servants to make themselves available whenever they were called upon to serve in future.
He stated that being aware that the ultimate goal of every civil servant was to receive his gratuity and pension at retirement, it was his administration’s policy not to deny retirees such benefits.
The governor said plans were underway to collaborate with pension managers to ensure that retirees receive their benefits as of when due irrespective of the government in power.
He stated: “One of the focal points of every civil servant is that when they retire they expect their pension on a monthly basis. We have promised not to treat our senior citizens with levity and would like to keep that promise as long as we remain in the saddle of governance in Bayelsa State.
“Today, we are celebrating you for the meritorious service you rendered to your dear state. I join in thanking and calling you to continue in the fashion that you have done while in service and to render services now as senior citizens of our dear state in terms of advice from the experience you have garnered over the years.”
In his remarks, the retired permanent secretaries commended Diri for ensuring prompt payment of their gratuities and monthly pension.
Chairman of the Retired Permanent Secretaries, represented by Chief B.F. Amakiri, noted that the governor’s love for retirees in the state was unsurpassed by any other governor in neighbouring states.
According to him, retirees in the state are not feeling the hardship that comes with retirement due to prompt payment of their benefits.
He expressed the forum’s support for the administration and appealed to the governor not to relent in his developmental initiatives.
Amakiri said: “You have done very well. We have colleagues and have been to neighbouring states but here is nothing to compare to this.
“At the end of every month, there is no difference between retirees and those still in service. The gratuity we receive each month, you have placed a mandate that it is first to retire, first to get paid. And this is being followed religiously to the letter.”
In their goodwill messages, the Chief Whip and Chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Establishments, Mrs. Ebiowo Koku-Obiyai as well as chairman of the Bayelsa State Civil Service Commission, Dr Peter Singabele, thanked the governor for not neglecting retired workers and prayed for more resources to enable him do more for them.
Also speaking, the Head of Service, Mrs Biobelemoye Charles-Onyema, congratulated the retirees for successfully serving the state without blemish.
She said their services were invaluable to the growth of the civil service due to the experience they garnered while serving.