A total of 23 states are presently owing their local government workers monthly salaries ranging between one to 16 months; a diligently computed local government staff salaries indebtedness in Nigeria has revealed.
Against this background, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has warned state governors not to divert or tamper with the second tranche of Paris Club Loan refund; which has just been released to them by the Federal Government for that purpose. Rather, NULGE appealed passionately to the state governors to use the second tranche of Paris Club loan refund to clear the backlog arrears of outstanding salaries owed local government workers across thecountry.
Failure to do this would force the union vowed to mobilise its teeming members and shut down all the Local Governments across the Country. The most affected states are Bayelsa owing between 10 to 16 months; Kogi between seven to 15 months; Delta State eight to 14 months; 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.Others are: Ondo, Ekiti, Imo with six months; Zamfara (not implementing 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 are owed few months in Enugu.
While Ekiti State has refused to remit union deduction for nine months, Ogun State has not also remitted its deduction for seven months and about 700 staff are owed for between one to three months in Cross River State.
Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Cross River, Niger and Anambra are the 14 states that are not owing their local government workers. While drawing attention of Nigerians to the level of this indebtedness to local government workers in various states, NULGE said the just released second tranche of Paris club loan refund to the state government should be used to pay the debts.
NULGE President Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, warned the governors against diverting the money, as it has been brought to the notice of the union that some state governors were already claiming that the amount released was not in conformity with the published figure. Khaleel said “We want to state in strong terms that no governor should either divert or tamper with the fund.
This should be an avenue where the backlog of arrears of salaries owed the local government workers and some other welfare packages such as leave bonus, arrears of promotion benefit, arrears of annual increment and non implementation of minimum wage most especially in Zamfara State; are resolved and paid. “We therefore use this medium to appeal passionately to the state governors to use this second tranche of Paris Club loan refund to clear the backlog arrears of outstanding salaries owed local government workers across the country in order to ameliorate the untold hardship they are currently passing through due to this ugly situation. ”On the strike threat, the NULGE President said “We want to make it categorically clear that our union will not tolerate a situation where any state governor will hide under any guise to deny local Government workers their legitimate salaries and allowances.
“In view of the above, NULGE will not hesitate to mobilize our teeming members and shut down all the local governments across the country if the governors attempt to divert the fund meant for the payment of arrears of salaries and other entitlements. A word is enough for the wise.”Khaleel commended the state governors that have paid Local Government staff salaries up to date in their various states.