The Kogi state council of the Nigeria Labour Congress has told Governor Yahaya Bello that workers in the state are still being owed months of salary arrears.
NLC chairman in the state, Onuh Edoka, stated this on Wednesday, May 22, during a meeting the labour leaders held with Governor Bello at the Government House, Lokoja.
Daily Trust reports that the meeting was at the instance of the state government to resolve grey areas on salaries.
The labour leader told the governor that workers in the state were going through untold hardships due to unpaid salaries and therefore called on him to expedite action in addressing the issue in the interest of workers’ well-being.
His words: “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 reminded Governor Bello that as at the time he came into office on January 2016, the workers were being owed three months salary and pension arrears.
According to him, Bello’s administration received the allocation for January 2016, thereby putting the responsibility of payment of salary of that month on him, and not the previous administration.
“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.
“As at today, the outstanding salaries and pensions arrears are in six different categories, ranging from eight months to 39 months.
”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,” Edoka said.
He insisted that there was no moral justification for Governor Bello not to pay salary and pensions having accessed bailout funds which were meant for that purpose, in addition to several tranches of Paris Club refund.
“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 added.
He charged the governor to drop the denial game, urging him to commence payment of the outstanding salary and pension arrears immediately, to prevent further death, sickness and other deprivations facing the people under his watch.
Responding, Bello said modalities would be put in place to address the issue.
He said his government had done much with the lean resources to develop the state, even as he called on the leadership of the organised labour to support his administration for more dividends of democracy.