——As govt., Labour again disagrees on salary arrears on may day celebrations
The Kogi State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has called on the state government to immediately sack some of his aides who are responsible for the sufferings of workers in the state as a result of the poor handling of the protected screening exercise.
Recalled that the screening exercise embarked upon by the Governor Yahaya Bello led administration which last for over three years was championed by the Auditor General of the state and his counterpart at the local government level, Yakubu Okala and Ahmed Ododo respectively.
Speaking on Wednesday at the workers day celebrations held at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja the state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Onuh Edoka said the state Auditor General Mr. Yakubu Okala and the Local Government Auditor General Alhaji Ahmed Ododo and their team were responsible for the pathetic situation of workers in the state.
According to him, the screening team compounded the faith of workers during the screening exercises adding that when people were cleared they failed to pay some, insisting that workers are being owed arrears of Salaries ranging from seven to thirty months.
He stressed that they mess up the whole exercises by giving the government fake informations regarding the status of some civil servants in the state, leading to several months of unpaid salaries to these categories of staff.
He said that although it was a good intention from the government but sadly the exercise was messed up by its handlers which he has today brought untold hardship on the workers in the state civil service.
“Workers in the state are being owed between 7 and 30 months depending on when they get cleared by the screening committee members.
“Those who has brought this untold hardship on the workers of Kogi must equally be shown out government. This is the only way to pacify these categories of workers who were made to suffer unjustly.
Other monies being owed to workers in the state According to the chairman includes accumulated leave bonuses, non implementation of promotion exercise which he said was only on papers without any cash backing and several months of Pension arrears to Pensioners.
He worse still is the illegal removal of some of these Pensioners from the payroll, saying that even when they are returned, they are never paid for the period their names were off the payment schedule.
Edoka berated the Yahaya Bello’s Administrator for creating confusion in the civil service by appointed retired Permanent secretaries as Director Generals to occupy positions that would ordinarily have been occupied those those next to them in levels.
He called on the government to be wary of this practice, saying that if the government chooses to retain them, they should do so by giving them political appointments without blocking the chances of others or obstruct their career progression.
On the issue of Ajaokuta Steel Company, the workers vowed to resist any attempt by the Federal government to concession of sell the Ajaokuta steel company.
Speaking in the same vein Edoka and the President of Nigeria Union of Mines Workers NUNW, Comerade Momohjimoh Salami said the Ajaokuta steel company is a national asset which should not be discarded in the name of concession.
Instead, they said that government should set machinery in motion towards making funds available for the completion of the plant.
Comrade Salami particularly said that if Ajaokuta was operational, Nigeria would have no reason to complain of unemployment as the company could provide minimum of 50,000 direct employment and thousand more indirect employment for the teaming youths of Nigeria .
He lamented the role allegedly being played by the world powers to frustrated the take off of the company.
“For their own selfish reason, the world powers of the United States of America,Britain and other European countries have continued to frustrate all efforts geared towards revamping the company and successive governments over the years have not demonstrated any political will.
He also expressed concern over the recent decision of President Muhammad Buhari to decline accent to the resolution of the National Assembly, calling on the Federal government to withdraw N1 billion dollars from excess crude account for the purpose of revamping Ajaokuta steel company.
Comrade Salami said that by that singular action of not accenting to the bill, the workers felt betrayed and demoralised and this has also shown that the federal government has not demonstrated any political will to revive the company.
In his speech, the state Governor said genuine workers are being owed between four to five months, but however said that there are some categories who are owed more defending on the months they are cleared.
Governor Yahaya Bello who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Arike Ayoade promised to key into the new N30,000 minimum wage, saying that government would continue to make the welfare of workers a priority. .
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