Paul Osuyi, Asaba
A civil servant in Delta State, Benson Efotor, has been rewarded with a brand new GS 3 Salon car for returning a whooping sum of N53 million that was mistakenly credited to his account.
The state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa announced the reward on Wednesday in Asaba during the rally organised by the state chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Okowa who congratulated workers on the occasion, stunned the audience when he announced the reward for Mr. Efotor, describing him as a man of integrity who should be emulated by other categories of workers in the state.
The governor thanked Efotor who is the state chairman of Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), saying that with what he has demonstrated by returning the “tempting sum, I have no doubt that you will lead your union on the right path of progress and integrity.”
Okowa commended workers for sustaining the cordial industrial harmony between labour unions and the state government, and reiterated his administration’s commitment to the welfare of workers, particularly in the areas of training and exposure to modern techniques.
He assured workers that the new N30,000.00 would be paid by his administration, and called on them to reciprocate government’s commitment to their welfare by demonstrating competence and determination in their services to the state.
The beneficiary of the car, Efotor, who spoke with our correspondent, expressed gratitude to the governor, and urged others to emulate him by demonstrating integrity in everything they do.
Narrating how he returned the money, Efotor said he was surprised when he received the credit of N53 million “because I know I have done nothing to get that kind of amount.
“The money was tempting but I decided to stay on the side of integrity. I sent a text to the accountant-general who called me back immediately.
“I later called the Special Adviser to the Governor who was in Abuja. The SA later called and gave me an account number for me to lodge in the money. So I went to the bank where I returned the money.
“The car reward is the prize for integrity and I encourage all workers to emulate this behaviour in order to be so recognised and rewarded.”
Meanwhile, a former Secretary to Delta State Government and veteran labour leader, Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay, has commended workers for their resilience and commitment to duty despite being subjected to very unfavourable conditions.
In a statement signed by his Media Assistant, Mr. Iteveh Ekpokpobe, Macaulay described workers as the live wire of Nigeria’s national development and integration.
“The Nigerian worker is a perfect definition of hard work, resilience and commitment to duty. Over time, so much expectations have been placed on them with little or no commensurate incentives.
”They have through sweat and blood carved the survival and structure of Nigeria hence deserve every atom of commendation as they celebrate. Their role in national development and integration cannot be over emphasised in a country plagued with too many developmental intrigues. I wish them the best,” he stated.
In the same vein, the former Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Delta State, commended the Federal government for seeing reasons with the union to increase the minimum wage to N30,000.
According to him, as much as the increase is commendable, the union should not rest on its oars of pursuing better standing for workers across the country.
He said beyond the salary issue, there were issues of welfare and better working conditions which should also be given critical attention.
”There will never be fair weather, but there is always room for compromise between employers and employees towards relative satisfaction. It is in view of this that the struggle must continue,” he added.