Civil servants in Kogi State has expressed confidence in the Governor to defray salary arrears in the state, following payment of two months salaries within the space of 24 hours, yesterday.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP in Lokoja, a teacher, Mr Ayodele Tanimola, expressed joy at the payment of two months from the six months arrears, saying the Governor has reignited their confidence in him once again.
He said, “We are aware of the efforts being made by the Governor to defray the salary arrears and we are glad it is gradually materializing. I am here to withdraw the two months salaries paid in the space of 24 hours by the State Government. We thank the Government and our Union leaders for working together to make this happen.
“We have also been encouraged by the news of government’s new arrangement that will make us receive our salaries regularly now”.
Another civil servant who is an Engineer with the Ministry of Works, told Leadership on condition of anonymity that civil servants are excited at the efforts made by Government to ensure regular payment of salaries. According to her, civil servants are not ignorant of the battle to raise enough funds to pay salaries. Her words,
“We sincerely appreciate this. It has helped us cope with the demands of school fees for our children. We know how much Government receive every month and how they have always struggle to pay salaries. We believe the new arrangement will finally ensure regular payment of salaries.
“The only problem we have with Governor Yahaya Bello is this salary issue. Now that he has moved to address it, we are 100% behind him”.
It would be recalled that Labor Leaders in the State have called on the Federal Government to release the balance of the bailout to the State Government so that they can defray the four months’ salary arrears as quickly as possible.
Kogi State government was the only Government that published details of the bailout received and how it was utilized in paying salary arrears.
Pundits told Leadership that the salary problem in the State dated back to the era of Governor Ibrahim Idris. It was alleged that Idris didn’t pay the minimum wage even in the era of oil boom. The immediate past Governor, Idris Wada also left between 2-3 months arrears with billions of Naira as arrears in pensions. It is believed that the bailout balance will go a long way in settling salary arrears in the State.
When contacted, the Director General of Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo said Government will continue to put smiles on the faces of the civil servants.
He said the State Government is working hard to put the salary issue behind.
“We have started defraying the arrears. The Governor was quoted out of context in that interview.
What he said was that he had paid salaries for as many months as he has been in Office. If you remove the three months he met from the four months he is owing now, then he will be owing just a month. He granted the interview before the end of May. “We thank labor leaders and the civil servants in the state for their understanding and cooperation with the government. This has no doubt helped Government in achieving a permanent solution to the challenge.”