Usman Tahir is a reader of this Page. He posted this comment in reaction to our publication on unpaid salaries. He articulated this article and has specifically requested that we publish it.
We have decided to publish it unedited. This article remains the views and opinion of Usman Tahir and we are not liable or accountable.
UNPAID SALARIES OF SOME STATES AND FEDERAL MDAs: WHAT ABOUT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
So much has been said on salaries owed to the State and Federal workers but nobody is remembering that the Local Govt were being owed more than 20 months salaries, leave bonuses and many other allowance.
Local govt workers for example in Kogi State have been impoverished since 2011 to date but their stories has never been heard discussed as a matter of National interest and its associated implications. Some states and federal agencies were being owed some months before and after the general elections of which the worst case is that of Osun State owing up to seven months, compare to LGs which is for years.
Now authorities, civil societies, NLC and the general public are crying so much like babies, others even went to International court to drive their needs home. They are sure aware of the situation in the LGs but they paid no attention to it as if the workers in the LGs were slaves that doesn’t deserve to feed well, as if the LG workers were foreigners, lesser beings, second class citizens. As if they were not going to the same market with the state and federal workers, as if its a crime to work in the LG, as if we don’t deserve any share from Nigeria’s wealth. Many have died of hunger, many have died because they couldn’t afford five hundred naira for drugs, many LG workers and their children have dropped out of school because of denied payments.
The worst is that local govt workers union are part of this wicked act, they don’t care whether members got full pay, percentages or no pay at all, some of them occupied management positions in LGs, where they are being adequately taken care of, some are naturally weak and powerless either because they were brought in as union leaders by the management of the LGs or they were by nature weak. In my own opinion, there’s no workers union at the LG level. The workers union popularly known as Nulge is unimaginable corrupt and weak to be reckon with as a union. Another deadliest constrain facing the LG salaries are the state govts who are operating the LGs as an offshoots, appendages, departments, area offices etc of the state. The state govt through Ministry for Local Govt Affairs stipulates what LGs takes home as Federal Allocations, what is paid as salaries to workers while the ministry part with huge amount from the LGs allocation. A visit to any Ministry for LG affairs will reveal the luxury they are into, monies going in and out. Every state workers wish to be posted there.
Recently a friend was congratulated by friends including member staff of the ministry for being posted there, stating that this friend is lucky. State govts use LGs funds as bonus fund they can use to finance their personal projects. They are very much aware of the hunger at the grass root but they are careless because it doesn’t affect them. Our prayer is that relevant bodies including the Federal govt should take LG workers salaries a serious matter as it affect the well-being of the downtrodden. They should investigate on how the allocations to LGs since 2011 has been spent. They should help LGs to recover deducted funds by the state while making efforts to liberate LGs from state control. They should intervene in the payment of several years salary arrears owed to the LG workers or at least begin payment of workers salaries in full from the current month onward. All outstanding promotions and increments should be implemented including full minimum wages.
They should abolish State Local Govt Service Commission, Ministry for Local Govt Affairs and all other state own MDAs that are being funded with LG funds. They should help to advocate for all things that will make workers at LGs have sense of belonging as part of Nigerian citizens and not as being treated as second class citizen. LG workers should stand up and take their destiny into their hands, they should take to the street and protest the suffering being melted upon them by non payment of their salaries. Unless they do this, nobody will care about them. Let it be part of the ongoing bail out discourse of salary trouble in Nigeria. Do something to save a soul. Though they know but kept quiet. This is my opinion; no attack, no abuse, its just an advise so that the worst is not seen. By Usman Tahir
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