Essien told newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday that the next of kin of deceased teachers would also be paid.
He said that the payment started on April 19 as promised and condemned the protest staged by a section of the affected retired workers.
Essien said that the payment would be carried out in batches, saying that the concerned retired teachers had started receiving alerts.
According to him, the process will continue throughout the week.
He noted that the government might stage a public show of the payment to convince ‘doubting Thomases’ that it was sincere with its promises.
Essien said that the payment which covered almost 40 years showed that the government of Gov. Udom Emmanuel was workers’ friendly.
“It was published widely that the payment of backlog of gratuities left by previous governments and administration in the state will start on Monday.
“Everything has been put in place for the payment to start but they went to the street as if they didn’t hear the news or publication of the payment.
“Actually, the payment started on Monday and it continues today. Many of those who have been selected for payment have received alert.
“If everything is put together before the week is over, we will put up a public show of the payment,’’ he said.
Essien noted that the administration of Gov. Emmanuel was very sensitive to the needs of the people of the state especially the workers.
“The governor is workers-friendly and ensures salaries are paid as and when due.
“Last year, he even paid when workers were at home during the COVID-19. He paid pensioners and also paid salary.
“The backlog has been there for decades. From 1976 to 1986 is one decade; 1986 -1996, two decades; 1996-2006, three decades; almost getting to four decades.
“Every time the protesters come out, we keep assuring them that we are putting things in place. The protesters are not even the workers that government employed but their next of kin,’’ he said.
Essien said that if the government was consistent in payment, it would go far in clearing the backlog.
He said, “His Excellency cleared 10 years backlog of pensions since he came into office and is ready to do something like that with the gratuities.’’
He, however, debunked the rumour in social media that the state government was doing secret recruitment in the public service. (NAN)