Kaduna (Nigeria) — After beaming its search light on the inflow of cash into coffers of the Kogi State government in north central Nigeria since 2016, Kogi East Elders Council has said that it is nothing short of wickedness for the government to deny workers their salaries and pensioners stipends.
At a news conference addressed by the group’s Chairman, Ahmadu Ali in Abuja, the nation’s capital, the council said in the last two years, since Yahaya Bello providentially took over the mantle of leadership as the Governor, impulsive and ill-informed steps taken by the administration have left in their trail the sounds of wailing and lamentation in villages, towns and cities across the state.
“As at today, Kogi is in dangerous waters, rudderless and sailing vividly into difficult storms”.
Instead of fulfilling his promise on assumption of office, the Elders said, Governor Bello has been beclouded with the fixation that the civil service is mired in monumental corruption and embarked on series of staff audits that saw to the non- payment of salaries for close 21 months.
Having scanned the endless exercise involving five screening committees set up by Governor Bello, the council resolved that it was becoming increasingly evident that the ghost workers narrative was exaggerated and at best false. “Rather, it is an unqualified excuse to downsize the Kogi State civil service workforce without justification,” the Council argued.
The council said its findings have shown that the cash flow into the coffers of the Kogi State government since 2016 to September 30th stood at One hundred and Sixty Seven billion Naira (N167Bn) from various sources including FAAC, Bailout, Paris Club Refund and IGR.
The Elders explained that from their calculation, the State government could conveniently pay workers salaries with even excess for infrastructure development, which are not on ground for people to see.
From the foregoing, the Elders are therefore asking President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the crises in Kogi state by setting up a presidential committee to among others, investigate the purported staff audit and ensure that staff salaries are paid, how bail out and Paris Club funds were utilized, immediate payment of workers salaries and reverse the sacking of 135 lecturers of the State University, saying the action had the tendency to depreciate the institution’s academic standard.
The Elders want the Kogi state government to adhere strictly to the terms and conditions entered into between it and the labour, which called off its strike recently to avoid a repeat and ensure industrial harmony.
Describing the insecurity situation in Kogi State as unacceptable, the Elders asked the police and security agencies to oil their intelligent network, arrest the criminals and bring them to justice.
Kogi East Elders Council is a body formed on principles of equity, justice, fair play and good governance and has laboured behind the scene to ensure harmony among various political divides and well being of the people of the state, it said.