Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, has slammed his colleagues owing backlog of salaries and pensions.
He said governors in the country have no reason, whatsoever, to owe workers and called on the federal and state governments to make a policy to ensure payment of salary, pension and gratuity will be in the first line charge before making any other expenditure when money drops from the Federation Account.
Gaidam, who was speaking during the commissioning of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) headquarters in Abuja, yesterday advised all state governors who are not up-to-date in the payment of salary, pension and gratuity to make it a policy to ensure payment.
He said: “I advice them to be prudent and accountable to the management of the scarce resources that are accruing from the Federation Account.
“If you are prudent, you are organised, and it helps you to properly plan on how to apply the little resources you are receiving from the federal government. And this ensures that salaries are paid as and when due. If you are prudent, you actually should be able to achieve paying workers’ salary and achieve all other things in your plan.”
He said the administration in Yobe has been able to remain above board in the payment of salary, pension as well as execute capital projects at a period when the country is facing economic difficulties, through high standard of accountability and prudent management of scarce resources in the state.
“Despite the unfortunate security challenges experienced in our state as a result of the activities of the insurgents which has drained substantial resources of the state to support the war, we made it a deliberate policy to pay salaries and pensions as the first line charge before any expenditure.
“For this reason, while many states have backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities, Yobe State is one of the few states which have consistently paid salaries of staff without resort to the bail out funds from the federal government.
“We have also made it a deliberate policy that all civil servants in our state start receiving payment of pensions one month after retirement,” the governor said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has called on the Federal Government to support its bid to establish a medical centre that would cater for retires who served the country meritoriously.
NUP National president, Abel Afolayan, who spoke at the commissioning of the national headquarters, decried the plight of the retired senior citizens. He noted that a medical centre dedicated to pensioners will offer cheap and affordable healthcare.
He said: “I appeal for more support from you, and we already lined up more capital projects ahead of us.
“We want to have a medical centre, where we would be taking care of our aged members, and we intend to establish the pensioners’ radio and television station, where we can reach out to our members easily and, also, use it as a tool to pressurise the government and enlighten the public about the plight of our people all over the nation.
“We have many laudable ideas and only plead for more support from you to enable us achieve them one by one.”