Organised labour leaders in Kogi State has emphatically calls the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello a liar for denying that his government didn’t owe workers salary. The workers insists that workers are being owed about eight to 39-month salary arrears.
The state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Onu Edoka, fearlessly disclosed this in Lokoja Government House during an emergency meeting between between the governor and leaders of the organised labour in the state.
The high powered meeting which was called by the state government took place inside the expansive governor’s office at the Lugard Government House in Lokoja, Kogi State.
The labour leader referred to excerpts from media report where the governor was quoted as saying that he was not owing the workers in the state a dime. The labour leaders revealed in the presence of the governor that the state government is owing state government workers heavily.
“We wish to unequivocally state that His Excellency’s administration owes Kogi workers and pensioners heavily in terms of salaries, pensions and other entitlements,
“We are more bewildered by the fact that at one time the government accepts the fact of her heavy indebtness to workers, and at another time the denial card is played.” He disclosed.
He berated the governor by reminding him that when he took the oath of office on January 27, 2016, the state government workers were only being owed just three months salary and pension arrears.
The labour leader disclosed that the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello was given allocation for January 2016 by the Federal Government and therefore has the onus of paying salary for that month and not the administration of the outgoing governor.
“You claimed to have spent the N20 billion bailout fund on payment of salary and pensions, but your refusal to utilise several years of monthly allocations for the same purpose gave room to the present backlog of salary and pensions,” Edoka said.
“As at today, the outstanding salaries and pensions arrears are in six different categories, ranging from eight months to 39 months. He stated.
”Apart from salaries, the current administration has not paid any leave bonus since inception. The implication is that leave bonuses for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are outstanding against this government.”
He disclosed that Governor Bello doesn’t have any excuse whatsoever not to pay salary and pensions after being given the bailout funds which was to serve the same purpose, apart from other tranches of Paris Club refund given to the governor.
“There is therefore a moral burden on his His Excellency to explain to the people of the state what his government did with all the refunds, the monthly allocations and internally generated revenue running into hundreds of billions of naira, since inception of this administration,” he said.
“We challenge the state government to a live debate on these issues on any national television.”
He urged the governor to quit the denial game and face reality by commencing payment of the the outstanding salary and pension arrears without further delay to prevent death, sickness and other ufortubate incidents caused by non-payment of the workers salary.
Governor Bello who was bewildered by the statement of the labour leader made a promise to effect the payment of the outstanding salary arrears and pensions.
SOURCE: THE CABLE
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