Ex-councillors in Bayelsa beaten by security operative over severance allowance
Ex-Councillorss in Bayelsa state have expressed their displeasure over the ill-treatment meted to them by Governor Seriake Dickson’s security details attached to government house gate,as they were beaten and arrested for demanding their unpaid severance gratuity.
It was gathered served the council areas from 2013 to 2016 and were at the government house gate to register their grievance over the delay in paying their severance gratuity and backlog entitlements.
Groaning over their unpaid entitlements despite several failed promises from government, the councillors, who were bent on seeing Governor Dickson, who was still presiding over state executive council meeting, refused all entreaties from security to leave the gate, as they were malhandled and arrested by the security operative.
Speaking with the GbaramatuVoice in Yenagoa, leader of the former councillors, Ezekiel Believe, said after exhausting all avenues of communication, they felt compelled to go out and pay an impromptu visit to the Governor.
Continuing, Believe said “we are suffering and the economy is biting hard on us, government is the only buoyant industry in the state, we have inundated the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Right Honourable Kombowei Benson with our predicament, the Commissioner for Local Government and other stakeholders are aware and we intend to pursue our legal entitlements without heating up the polity, but we were repaid with the worse ill-treatment any human being could accept.
‘’Since April 2016 when we left councils, we have not received our severance gratuities and other backlog of claims that are hanging in the councils, we had no source of fund, Our claims and entitlements were never paid, now it’s our severance gratuities.”
On behalf of former councillors in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Ogidi Bara said their visit to Government House was not a protest, but a solidarity gathering by the ex-council lawmakers.
‘’We completed our tenure in 2016 and in a couple of months from now, it’ll be two years since we left office as councillors.
‘’Though our entitlements were not paid, yet we endured and supported the government tremendously. We massively mobilised in our different wards and the results were impressive where the Peoples Democratic Party won almost all council in the state.”
‘’The feat was as a result of the role we played in our communities, now we do not have money to meet certain obligations and do not want anybody to push us aside, hence we enjoined Governor Dickson to consider our predicament and graciously pay our severance gratuities to enable us sustain our families.”
James Erefa, an ex-councillor posited that the Governor is aware of the deteriorating condition that the unpaid severance had subjected them and their families to, but his delay in giving directive that all outstanding claims be paid in line with his promise to do so brought them to government house gate to remind him.
“The Governor had an agreement with us before the elections that our severance gratuities would be paid by the end of our tenure, but what did we get, we were dehumanized, beaten, battered, arrested by his security operative for demanding our legitimate earnings,’’ James cried.
Efforts to speak with the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite proved abortive, as his mobile phone responded severally was “not available try again later.