From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
BAYELSA State Government has accused top serving and retired civil servants of truncating efforts by the Governor Seriake Dickson-led administration to meet up with payment of workers’ salary.
The state government, in a statement through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, said though the state had embarked on verification exercises to determine genuine workers and reduce its huge wage bill of N4 billion, the efforts were truncated by some criminal elements at all levels of the civil service in the state.
Obuebite said the government suspected that a cartel, made up of some serving was atealing billions of naira meant to pay genuine workers monthly.
“This is no doubt, a major cog in the wheel of progress in the efforts of the Bayelsa State Government to tackle the current economic challenges bedeviling the state. The cartel has, over time, constituted themselves as economic saboteurs by perpetrating all manner of financial crimes, making it increasingly difficult for the government to meet its obligation to workers by paying their salaries as and when due and the much-needed development of the state.
“On the recent verification committees set up to look into the issues of suspected bloated nominal roll of public servants, it is to ensure that genuine, honest, hard working and committed civil servants are not denied their legitimate income.
“It is intended to curtail the activities of criminal gangs who cheat the system and smile all the way to the bank without rendering any service to the state. It is only the enemies of the state who can be involved in such evil act.”
Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Brass Constituency 1 in the state House of Assembly, Mr. Israel Sunny-Goli and a former militant leader, Chief Joshua Maciver are at loggerheads over pipeline explosion in the area.
Joshua was recently inaugurated as the chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council Caretaker Committee.
Sunny-Goli, in a letter to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Musa Daura and the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, said Maciver should be held responsible for the Easter Day pipeline explosion in Olugboboro community and threats against oil companies in the area.
However, in a reaction, Maciver denied Sunny- Goli’s allegations. He said there was a plot to blackmail him because of the position he had taken on the operations of oil companies in the area.
Maciver, who spoke through his press secretary, Mr. Amos Owete, accused Sunny-Goli of attempting to frame him up. He denied that he was behind pipeline explosion in the area.
“There is no iota of truth in the allegation. The story is false and an attempt to blackmail me because of the task force set up to monitor operations of oil companies in the area,” he said.