By Daniel Adaji
On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, in an interview on Arise TV, claimed that he was up-to-date with salaries payment in the state. He also claimed that his administration did not owe any civil servant salaries.
According to him, “Most times… we question and query these [National Bureau of Statistics] statistics, because I am most affected in Kogi State. For instance, NBS, the media or out there, people used to say Kogi State is owing salaries up to 18 months. There are information out there that are misleading.”
The implication of the Governor’s statement is that, his office is up to date with payment of salaries in the state.
In March 2022, when the state government claimed it did not owe civil servants salaries, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) state secretary, Paul Omale, issued a statement that accused the state government of a deliberate disunity within the state workers, saying “The attention of the leadership of the Organised Labour in Kogi has been drawn to a story published in many national dailies of 6th March, 2022 alleging that the NLC chairman, Onuh Edoka, confirmed that no percentage salary was paid to Kogi state workers.
The author (Kogi State Government) of the story was clearly on a mission to set the workers of the state against the leadership of the organised Labour.
There was no such interview or press statement issued by the NLC chairman, Mr Onuh Edoka, to any media house. Workers should be rest assured that their welfare at all times remain the topmost priority of the Labour leadership.”
On May 1st 2022, being Workers’ Day, the Trade Union Congress, in a Daily Post Nigeria publication, wrote an open letter to the Governor of Kogi State, telling him that “Kogi workers are dying” implying that the workers were either not being paid or not paid their due salaries.
Kogi workers are dying
The letter by the TUC Chairman Comrade Ranti Ojo said, “The issue of percentage payment of salary at the primary school sector and the local government areas has not only crippled education at that level and bastardized local government administration but also dehumanized workers at that sector.
Your Excellency, we are not unaware of your position on this matter, as reflected in your speech during the second year anniversary of your second tenure on January, 2022.
That notwithstanding, Organized Labour appeal to the Government to restore full salary payment to the workers at that level in order to mitigate the effect of the hardships steering this category of workers in Kogi State.”
It is apparent that Governor Yahaya Bello was economical with the truth
From the two statements above, which have not be faulted by Kogi State Government, it is apparent that Governor Yahaya Bello was economical with the truth when he claimed on Arise TV that his government did not owe Kogi State workers salaries.
Civil servants in Kogi State Civil Service and Local Government Councils have complained loudly that they are owed several months of salaries, and for the period they received payments, such funds were ‘percentage payments’.
The inconsistency in the payment of salaries have deepened poverty, in a state where NBS statistics say there is high food inflation. Some civil servants on level 14, who should be earning over N100,000 monthly, are paid about N30,000 as take home for a month in the name of ‘percentage payment.’
The inconsistency in the payment of salaries have deepened poverty
A civil servant in Dekina Local Government, who prefers to be anonymous to avoid being victimized by government, told The Insight that she had not been receiving her full salary because of percentage payment. “I have been teaching for almost 30 years.
Even some of my students are PhD holders today. Yet my highest take home for the month is between N25,000 to N40,000 because of ‘percentage payment.’ In fact, primary schools under local governments are the worst hit.”
Based on the foregoing,
- Governor Yahaya Bello has not cleared outstanding debts owed to the state’s civil servants, contrary to his claim.
- Kogi State Government is not up to date with the payment of salaries to civil servants, as claimed. ‘Percentage salary’ cannot be misconstrued to mean full payment of monthly salaries to civil servants.
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