The Akwa Ibom State government has reiterated that it is up to date with the payment of workers’ salaries in the service.
The government, reacting to a statement credited to the National President of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, said it was totally incorrect to say that Akwa Ibom was owaing local government workers for four months.
The commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Udo Ekpenyong, who spoke on the issue in an interview, maintained that regular payment of salaries was one of the major policies of Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
“We are not owing workers, either in the main state service or Local government service. We run a robust service mechanism to ensure that at the end of the month, workers receive their wages. The disposition of Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel to the issue of salary is very clear. The governor wants all workers to receive their wages at the end of every month. And this has been happening. So why the blackmail?
“He has ensured that this policy is implemented since he became the governor on May 29, 2015 despite the economic recession and it has been holistically observed. You can recall the appreciative atmosphere at the recent 2017 May Day Celebration as shown to the governor by the workers. Even in their speeches, both NLC and TUC hailed the governor respectively for his excellent workers’ relationship. So this statement by the National President of NULGE is incorrect.”
NULGE, had in a news report, circulated by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, and published on Monday, June 26, 2017 by the online media, the Premium Times, alleged that “23 Nigerian states owe local govt workers’ salaries; some 14 months.” Mr. Khaleel, was quoted as saying that “Bayelsa State was leading in indebtedness to local council workers between 10 to 16 months, followed by Kogi between seven to 15 months; Delta State eight to 14 months.
According to the news report, Khaleel stated: “Kaduna 12 months; Oyo three to 11 months; Edo 10 months; Abia five to nine months; Kwara two to nine months; Benue nine months and Nasarawa seven months. “Ondo, Ekiti, Imo with six months; Zamfara have not implementing (sic) minimum wage, Adamawa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Plateau owing four months, Taraba and FCT three months.
“While Osun State has been paying half salaries for 24 months and few staff were owed few months in Enugu.”
Mr. Ekpenyong said that it is very clear that there is no such record of indebtedness in the local government under the present leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel. “The administration even carried out holistic authentication of workers’ salaries, leave grants and promotion arrears allegedly owed previously, and we are happy that we have gone very far in addressing them accordingly. “We have cleared arrears in some areas and we are still following up to treat genuinely established cases. This administration knows the essence of local governments and will continue to offer concrete support always. So, misrepresentation of facts cannot help the situation but rather cooperation and support to an administration that is committed to the welfare of workers. “Let me add that when the governor came on board, he ensured the payment of gratuity to NULGE retires covering 10 years from 2000 to 2010. We challenge the National President of NULGE to substantiate his allegation with facts. “We should be grateful to God for the kind of leader that is our governor today. He is very passionate about Akwa Ibom project,” the Commissioner for Local and Chieftaincy Affairs explained.
On the redeployment of Comrade Martin Effiong, the hitherto State President of NULGE from Local Government to the state civil service, the Commissioner explained that it was an exercise carried out to assist him go further in his career. “The former state President of NULGE, Comrade Martins Effiong was moved from local government to state service in line with routine administrative exercise to service critical areas of need. Being a very senior personnel, he stands to benefit from the posting in due course. He should therefore be happy about it and handover to his deputy for the interest of NULGE in the State.