EMMANUEL ADEYEMI, Lokoja
Kogi State governor, Alh Yahaya Bello for the first time publicly admitted that his administration has committed blunder in owing workers between eight to 38 months due to the over two-year staff screening exercise .
Governor Bello who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja, who represented him on Thursday in Lokoja at the 7th NLC quadrennial Congress said “when a child made mistakes he should admit he made mistakes, we have made mistakes and we are correcting it.”
Onoja who was unusually conspicuously sober at the ceremony was reacting to NLC Chairman’s speech, Comrade Onuh Edoka, who said workers are dying in dozens due to the non payment of salaries as government is owing them between eight to 38 months.
Edoka said workers in the state have been reduced to beggars as they could no longer meet their domestic responsibilities while their children are impoverished and driven out of school due to non payment of school fees; while the condition of pensioners and local government workers, some of whom he said are being paid ‘miserable percentages of their salaries,’ are most precarious.
Responding, Onoja who said the prolonged staff screening exercise was inevitable as it has brought some kind of sanity to the civil service system in the state. However he said government was looking into where it has goofed with a view to correcting it.
On the percentage payment of local government workers, Onoja said the phenomenon had been existing before the advent of the current administration, of which the workers at the occasion shouted “no, no ,no, you are lying”
Beating a retreat, Onoja begged the workers to exercise patience with the Government as efforts will now be geared towards paying their salaries as and when due pleading with the workers to support the re-election bid of governor Yahaya Bello.
He however, said if by November this year governor Bello was not re-elected the incoming government will build on the legacy they would leave behind.