Anguish of workers as 11 states fail to pay salaries •Plateau, Kogi, Osun, Oyo, Nasarawa, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Ekiti worst hit

Posted by News Express | 30 December 2015 | 4,623 times

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It was a bleak Christmas for many civil servants across the states of the federation as they celebrated the Yuletide without their December salaries.

Except for a few states such as Lagos, Edo, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Kano, Rivers, Enugu and others, many civil servants went home angry. Even in some of the states that paid, only staff of the state civil service were paid, while their local government counterparts were left out. Reports from our correspondents showed that most of the affected states have up to three months arrears of salaries to settle.

The most hit are Plateau, Kogi, Osun, Oyo, Nasarawa, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Imo and Ekiti states. The states owe between two and three months salaries to their various cadre of workers. The situation is almost the same in the other states that claim to owe their workers less number of months. In most of these states, workers are paid salaries in percentages of 30 and 50.

Others are hugely indebted to staff at the local government level and parastatals. In Oyo State, for instance, only workers on grade levels one to six, local government workers and primary school teachers were paid their October salaries before Christmas. Those on level seven and above have not been paid since October, while workers across board are being owed November and December salaries.

According to the Chairman of the Oyo State chapter of the NLC, Comrade Waheed Olojede, the workers are not happy with the situation in the state, although it is the same for workers in other neighbouring states.

The story is the same in neighbouring Osun State, where workers received 50 per cent of their salaries for the month of October on December 24.

Investigations revealed that despite the fact that the State Government effected the half payment for the month of October, only few workers in the state civil service were paid. One of the workers, who simply identified himself as Mr. Adedokun, told one of our reporters that none of them received salaries for the month of December. He said that the state government only paid half salary for the month of October.

According to him, “The State Government is still owing us half salaries for the months of July, August, September and October 2015 while the half salaries received for the months are even yet to be paid to many of us, while Christmas bonuses that used to be paid by the previous administration in the state have been stopped.”

Also in Ekiti State, workers did not receive both November and December salaries. The State Government only paid October salary few days to Christmas, though lecturers and other categories of workers at the state-owned tertiary institutions, including the College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti and Ekiti State University (EKSU), were even excluded in the October payment.

Workers in Plateau State are also owed two months’ salary arrears of November and December. They only received their October salary few days to Christmas. It was the same situation in Kogi State as no fewer than 15,000 workers in the state’s employ celebrated Christmas without three months’ salaries.

Even a strike embarked upon by the workers could not force the State Government to pay them, although it was learnt that they are likely to be paid today to enable them celebrate the New Year.

A senior worker, who simply identified himself as Mr. James, lamented that he had not received salaries for three months. As such, he could not afford Christmas clothes for his children.

Oil-rich Akwa Ibom State is not left out of states where workers had a bleak Christmas. It was learnt that civil servants received their November salaries early December, while pensioners had their last pay in October.

In Kaduna State, although the state government employees received their salaries since last Tuesday, their local government counterparts are being owed three to four months salaries, according to Malam Umar Mohammed, a staff of Kaduna North Local Government Area.

In Nasarawa State, civil servants were not paid their December salaries. Our Correspondent also observed that the Christmas celebration in Lafia, the state capital, and other major towns of Akwanga, Keffi and Karu and others visited took place without the usual fanfare as a result of non-payment of workers’ salaries. The state has a staff strength of about 18,000 with wage bill of about N2.1 billion.

Also, local government workers, including teachers in Taraba State, had difficulties in celebrating the Yuletide as they were not paid their two months’ salaries. “Throughout last week, whenever I heard any text message beeping in my phone, I was expecting it was an alert and it was unfortunate that I received no salary alert,” a local government worker said.

The picture is not clear in Imo State. While the State Government said it has paid salaries of civil servants up to December, some workers insist that they have not been paid. But findings revealed that those who are yet to receive their salaries are workers who refused to sign a controversial acknowledgement, which has since been described by workers as “death warrant.”

Workers of Imo Polytechnic, Umuagwo, went for the Christmas break without their November and December salaries because they refused to sign the undertaking. Teachers in Owerri Municipal also took a hit when the officials that were supposed to pay them went back with their money as they refused to append their signatures to the controversial document.

In Abia State, state civil servants were paid their December salaries before Christmas, but as at December 29, local government workers were yet to be paid. In some of the parastatals like the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), though the December salary was paid before Christmas, the workers are still being owed April salary.

The story is, however, different for pensioners as their chairman, Comrade Chukwuma Udensi, lamented that while the civil servants were being paid, the pensioners were excluded.

In Kwara State, the government paid the December salary of the core civil servants before Christmas.

However, workers in parastatals and agencies have not been paid. Workers in state-owned Colleges of Education, as well as those of the state’s Water Corporation, are on strike over salary issues.

•Excerpted from a New Telegraph report. Photo shows Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari. 

Source: News Express

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