The Kogi House of Assembly on Tuesday unanimously condemned the report of the State Staff Audit Committee, and ordered it to furnish the house with its comprehensive report “within 24 hours”.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance, raised by Mr Friday Sani (PDP-Igalamel-Odolu), in which he decried the declaration of a chunk of the civil workforce as “uncleared and therefore, ghosts”.
In the motion, which he tagged: “Save the Souls of Kogi Workers”, the lawmaker said that there was an urgent need to save the souls of civil servants at both the state and local government levels.
“I am constrained to move this motion considering the overwhelming evidences of non-payment of state and local government workers in the state, and the consequent suffering that is leading to high poverty, disease and death.
He regretted that the screening exercise, which started since the inception of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration, had lingered and came to an end with the sack of a great percentage of workers on flimsy excuses such as multiple age declarations, among others.
Sani particularly faulted the responses of the media aides to the governor and his Chief of Staff to the recent protest of workers in state-owned tertiary institutions over non-payment of their salaries.
“The question one is forced to ask therefore, is whether Kogi’s state and local government workers are being owed salaries. If yes, we should be able to situate the idea behind the bailout fund and to what purpose it was put.
“The fact stares into our faces that the people have lost total confidence in the entire screening exercise considering the complexities and complications that were deliberately brought in to mess up the exercise.
“In this circumstance, this house has a duty to salvage the people and the state from a total breakdown of law and order; we must take steps to avoid more sufferings, diseases and deaths,” he said.
Sani, in his prayers, urged the house to resolve the lingering issues and urged the state to keep the screening report in abeyance and pay all the workers using the last voucher used by former Governor Idris Wada’s administration.
“This is very necessary to avoid the loss of more lives and despondency,” he argued.
Idris Ndakwo (PDP-Lokoja II), who seconded the motion, described the screening exercise, and particularly the final report, as “evil, satanic, fraudulent, condemnable, null and void”.
Ruling on the motion, the Speaker, Alhaji Umar Imam, described the idea behind the screening exercise as a lofty one, but regretted that its execution was shoddy and a sham.
He said that he personally handed over the assembly staff list to the committee but that the list was disregarded.
The Speaker ordered the committee to bring a complete report of its activities to the house within 24 hours, and directed the joint committee on establishment, judiciary, pension and local government, to study the said report and revert to the house within one week. (NAN)