The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kogi state has revealed that the state governor, Yahaya Bello, owed workers eight to 39-month salary arrears.
Onu Edoka, the state chairman of the NLC, disclosed this in Lokoja, during an emergency meeting between the governor and the leaders of the organised labour.
Edoka was particularly furious by media reports quoting Bello as saying that he was not owing workers a dime.
“We wish to unequivocally state that His Excellency’s administration owes Kogi workers and pensioners heavily in terms of salaries, pensions and other entitlements,” he said.
“We are more bewildered by the fact that at one time the government accepts the fact of her heavy indebtness to workers, and at another time the denial card is played.”
“You claimed to have spent the N20 billion bailout fund on payment of salary and pensions, but your refusal to utilise several years of monthly allocations for the same purpose gave room to the present backlog of salary and pensions,” Edoka said.
“As at today, the outstanding salaries and pensions arrears are in six different categories, ranging from eight months to 39 months.
”Apart from salaries, the current administration has not paid any leave bonus since inception. The implication is that leave bonuses for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are outstanding against this government.”
“There is, therefore, a moral burden on his His Excellency to explain to the people of the state what his government did with all the refunds, the monthly allocations and internally generated revenue running into hundreds of billions of naira, since the inception of this administration,” he said.
“We challenge the state government to a live debate on these issues on any national television.”
Reacting to the outbursts, an apparently disturbed Bello promised to work out modalities for the payment of the outstanding salary arrears and pensions.