Sokoto Agency DG Arrested Over Alleged Diversion Of Salaries

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A file photo of an arrested suspect.

 

 

The Director-General of Sokoto Marshal Agency, Abdullahi Sa’idu, has been arrested for alleged diversion of N10million meant for the payment of the salaries of workers.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) confirmed this in a statement posted on its Twitter handle on Monday.

According to the anti-graft agency, Sa’idu was arrested along with an accountant with the agency, Bashar Dodo-Iya, on Friday last week by operatives of EFCC Sokoto Zonal Office.

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It said the two suspects, who are members of the payment committee of Sokoto Marshal Corps, were arrested following a petition jointly signed and presented to the commission by 39 members of the agency.

The petitioners alleged that their three months salaries were being withheld without any reason.

They also claimed that the suspects refused to pay their salaries but diverted the money for their personal use.

The EFCC said preliminary investigation confirmed the alleged diversion of the said sum by the suspects.

It added that the duo would be charged to court as soon as it concludes investigation.

It Is Our Running Cost That People Call ‘Jumbo Pay’ – Senator Adeyeye

 

Spokesperson of the Senate, Dayo Adeyeye, has defended the pay packages of members of the Senate, saying that they deserve running costs apart from regular salaries.

According to Adeyeye, members do not enjoy any “Jumbo pay” contrary to popular belief and Nigerians need more enlightenment about the controversial matter.

Speaking to journalists in Ado, the Ekiti State capital he noted that public officers of lower status get adequate running costs for their duties hence, Senators deserve more for the responsibilities on their shoulders.

“Ordinary clerks have running cost in any organization, why should people believe senators are not entitled to running costs and they attribute that as their salaries, calling it Jumbo pay.

“Senators are entitled to running costs as well, apart from the salary. It is this running cost that people call jumbo pay which is not.

“There are over three thousand staff working for the National Assembly, are they not going to be paid? There’s a National Assembly Service Commission fully populated… (But) You just look at a senator and you say they are the ones sharing Nigeria’s money, No,” he said.

“People don’t appreciate the role of the legislator… that is why no matter how much you pay the legislature, they think it is unjustified.

“They think they don’t earn it which is not the case. But I know that with time, when we begin to engage the Nigerian public and bring them to full Knowledge of the roles of the legislature they will begin to see why the legislators should be given the enablement to perform their roles”.

Bayelsa Govt Releases Over N5bn To Pay Workers’ Salaries

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Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has authorized the release of N5.6 Billion Paris Club Debt funds salary arrears owed workers during the peak of the biting economic recession in the country in 2016.

A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, stated that the state government received a total of N14.8 billion from the Federal Government.

Gov. Dickson had in a consultative meeting of top government officials and Labour leaders in December said the decision was in line with the transparency policy of his administration.

The breakdown shows the state received N13.5 billion while the local government councils received N1.37 billion.

Mr Dickson explained further that the outstanding salaries arrears were a balance of half salaries he paid for seven months during the recession in 2016.

The governor appreciated the workforce for displaying understanding during the trying period of the recession in 2016 which affected the resources of the state in an adverse way.

According to him, while most of the older states in the country have lower wage bills, Bayelsa State’s Wage Bill was over N6 billion (State and LGAs) because of the detrimental activities of some fraudulent characters.

The state’s Chief Executive lamented that the wage bill in the state had remained high, in spite of its low Internally Generated Revenue base, which he put at N500, 000 million per month on the average.

He added further that, the recurrent burden on the state had become too high as the individual Bayelsa civil servant earns almost twice the income of their counterparts in other states of the Federation.

The Governor also warned that he would not tolerate any complaint of the inability of the councils to pay salaries in the councils as from January 2018.

He stressed that the state had not deducted any money from local government funds as they had enjoyed financial autonomy from the inception of his administration.

Dickson who said that he would not fund the councils with monies from the state government urged the leadership of the councils to have a workforce which they have the capacity to train, manage and maintain.

According to him, the state could only come in to aid the primary school education sector.

The Commissioner for Finance was directed to give a statement of the total amount of money received from the Paris Club Fund said that the state received a total of N14.8 billion out of which N1.37 billion was for the local governments and N13.5 for the government of the state.

About N5.6 billion of the Fund is being spent to pay the one and a half months salary arrears owed workers in the state.

President Buhari Begs Governors To Pay Salaries

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to state governors to address the plight of workers in their state by paying salaries.

The President made the appeal when he met with traditional rulers inside the Presidential Villa in the nation’s capital Abuja on Monday.

Workers and pensioners in many states in the country are still being owed months of salaries and the President is worried about the situation and expects that the Paris Club refunds to states would have eased the situation.

President Buhari said, “There are Nigerians that haven’t be paid for six months. There are Nigerians that haven’t been paid their retirement benefits for years. I appeal to the governors; that is why we voted money, we borrowed money.

Please, make sure (you pay) anybody under you. If he is working, he depends on the salary to pay rent, to hold his family, for education, health care…”

According to the President, in order to secure Nigeria, it is important to secure its resources.

The President also used the occasion to preach unity and love among Nigerians.

“Please, continue to pacify your people, to tell them, please think of themselves and their neighbours and their states as all Nigerians. Let us continue to bear with your people,” he told the traditional leaders, among who were the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad III, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi.

“Those who stand for elections, we know our limitations. We have to continue to strengthen our constitution, to strengthen the resolve of our people. To live together, (and) to work together.”

Away from his concerns about the plight of workers, the President is happy with the level of rainfall this year. And he joked that he would have run away from the country if things had not improved.

And he joked that he would have run away from the country if things had not improved.

He said, “We were lucky last year and this year, the rainy season is even good. If it were not good, I will confide in you that I was deciding which country shall I run to. But God answered the prayers of many Nigerians. The rainy season last year was good and this year with the report I’m getting is good. We thank God for that otherwise there would have been a lot of problems in this country.”

The President assured the traditional rulers that he was aware of the problems Nigerians faced and that he is committed to addressing them.

“I will like to convince you that I am living with the problems of this country day by day and, mostly, of ordinary people,” he said.

I Can’t Disclose How Much I Earn, Senate Spokesperson

 

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, has said that he cannot disclose on a national television programme, how much he is being paid as a Senator.

Speaking on Channels Television Programme, Sunday Politics, Senator Abdullahi lamented that the Senate is constantly harassed by Nigerians calling for how much they earn and that the issue of Nigerian legislators’ wages has been a recurring one in the last couple of years.

Senator Abdullahi said, “You don’t expect me to come out on national television to say this is what I earn. It is not done. I cannot ask you as a journalist how much you earn. It is not done.

“If anybody is interested in how much we are getting paid, you know where to get the information. The documents are available. If Nigerians won’t believe that, is it, what I will say that they will believe?”

“This issue has become a recurring decimal. In the last two years people have been discussing this matter and I always ask myself, what do people really want to believe? I think if this subject matter has been discussed for two years and we are still looking at issues wrongly, then I think there is something wrong with us.”

Explaining further on the institutions responsible for providing information on salaries of Senators, Abdullahi said a law was promulgated on the Top Political Salary Scale (TOPSA), provisions on which all political office holders are paid.

“The institutions that are responsible for providing this information are there. A law was promulgated on Top Salary Scale also known as TOPSA and it is based on this scale that everyone who holds one political office or the other gets paid.”

Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay’s (SAN) last week said that a Nigerian senator earns N29million.

Giving more details, Sagay said, “From the information I have gathered, a Nigerian senator earns about N29million a month and over N3billion a year. Basic salary N2,484,245.50; hardship allowance, 1,242, 122.70; constituency allowance N4, 968, 509.00; furniture allowance N7, 452, 736.50; newspaper allowance N1, 242, 122.70.

“Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37; recess allowance N248, 424.55; accommodation 4,968,509.00; utilities N828,081.83; domestic staff N1,863,184.12; entertainment N828,081.83; personal assistant N621,061.37; vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12; leave allowance N248,424.55; severance gratuity N7, 425,736.50; and motor vehicle allowance N9, 936,982.00.”

The Senator added that Professor Sagay must have been paid based on the provision of the same Top Salary Scale (TOPSA) from which Nigerian Senators and all other political office holders are paid, adding that he cannot be speaking concerning the figures made available by Professor Sagay.

“I want to also submit that I presume Professor Sagay would have been paid based on the provision of this scale.  For us in the National Assembly, the question needs to be asked ‘what is the cost of having democracy and what is the cost of not having democracy?,’” he said.

Obaseki Reprimands Edo Pensioners Over False Claims

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The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has cautioned pensioners in the state over what he described as slander against his administration in spite of efforts made to settle all their outstanding wages.

Mr Obaseki stated this in reaction to claims made by a delegation of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, (NUP) Edo State Chapter led by Comrade Polleen Noruwa who visited the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.

In a speech earlier, Noruwa alleged that Governor Obaseki had during the May Day celebration, made a pledge to clear all outstanding allowances owed the pensioners but was yet to do so.

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On his part, Obaseki reprimanded the retirees for the false claims, saying they were ungrateful despite his administration’s efforts to settle their entitlements.

“Should we pay those who are retired and not pay those working, is it possible. If there was enough money won’t everybody be paid,” he questioned. We are even able to pay what we are paying now and I think it should be appreciated,” he stressed.

The governor also warned that government will no longer tolerate acts of protest by the retired workers and according to him if they keep attempting to stop the system which the government is trying to build “there will be nothing for anybody”.

He, however, restated his commitment to settling all outstanding wages being owed state pensioners as soon as the funds are available.

In a recent interview with Channels Television, Obaseki while stating some of his administration’s achievements in the last seven months, stressed that his administration was not owing “one kobo of salaries”.

“We are not owing salaries, we paid salaries last on the 26th of May. Yes, there are local governments that are having a few challenges and I am working with them to get out of those challenges. Edo State Government is not owing one Kobo of salaries to any of its workers,” he said.

Why We Couldn’t Pay Full Salaries – Aregbesola

Why We couldn't Pay Full Salaries - Aregbesola
File Photo

Governor Rauf Aregbesola has blamed the inability of the Osun State government to pay full workers’ salaries on financial challenges, and not because government is wicked.

He made the clarification on Tuesday while addressing an audience at the ‘Ogbeni Till Day Break Programme’ in Osogbo, the state capital in South-West Nigeria.

Governor Aregbesola commended civil servants in the state for their understanding, resilience and cooperation in the face of the current hard times.

“Firstly, I salute the perseverance, patience, commitment, understanding and unalloyed support given by our workers, especially at tough times.

“As we all know, the issue of salary has become ubiquitous as many couldn’t pay salaries of their workforce. We couldn’t pay not because we are wicked, but because we are financially challenged.

“We have been rewarding workers based on their performance, diligence, merit and dedication to duties. We have been promoting workers based on their resilience and commitment.

“We have been providing a good leadership to Osun workers on their promotion. The state has been doing everything possible to support workers and prioritise their welfare,” he said.

The governor further reiterated that he would not leave any project uncompleted before the expiration of his tenure, and faulted the allegation of inflation of contract on road constructions in the state.

He explained that roads are different in qualities and characteristics and so, the amount for the construction of a kilometre road would be based on its quality and characteristics.

“As we know, the cost of roads are not the same anywhere in the world. We cannot compare the cost of a kilometre of road in each of the states. To us, our roads are done with active participation of officials from the Ministry of Works, with absolute transparency in the rate and cost.

“The rate is in line with international standard, you should ask how much they construct roads in other states. You can’t compare our roads with sensational roads, we have not inflated cost of any of our projects.

“In the history of Osun, the quality of roads we are constructing has never been seen or done by any government. Also, no administration has constructed the number of bridges constructed by our government in the last six years,” Aregbesola said.

May Day: Cross River Workers Decry Early Payment of Salaries

Cross River, Special CourtsWorkers in Cross River State have criticised the state government for paying their May salaries early.

Adorned in colourful apparels to mark May Day, the workers who received their May salaries on the eve of the celebration protested against the early payment of their salaries.

At the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar where the workers converged for the celebration, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, John Ushie, said labour had advised the government against such a move.

He said, “We had advised the governor not to be paying salaries like this but he insisted.

“Maybe it is his own way of showing that he cares for the people. He feels he should make the life of the people better and he has expressed this by paying a month salary in arrears.”

Ushie called on workers to be prudent to avoid running into financial problems before the next pay day.

He said, “We believe that salaries should be paid for work done but since he has gone ahead to pay, we can only advise workers to be prudent.

“He did the same thing last year, but we didn’t expect he would do the same thing again because he just finished paying salaries last week and then by yesterday (April 30) he had paid May salaries. That is the situation of ground.”

Similarly, the Chairman, Nigerian Civil Service Union in the state, Dr. Peter Ipole, said paying two months’ salaries under one week is not a good idea for majority of the workers.

This, according to him, is because many workers do not have the attitude of saving, especially considering the present economic times.

While commending the government of Professor Ben Ayade for the prompt payment of salaries since he became governor of the state, the workers called on the government to pay salaries at the end of the month and not at the start.

The state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Eyo-Nsa Itam, said although the workers did not expect to get paid, the attitude of the governor towards salaries was good.

Itam said, “I think it is a tradition. We didn’t expect it yesterday. We expected it today. But you know because of the economic strain, there may be suffering if people are not careful.

“It means people would work for two months without seeing salaries, because the governor just paid salaries last week. Within one week, he has paid two months’ salaries. So it is a good development, but the impact would be very hectic.”

Workers’ Day: Ortom Declares Emergency On Payment Of Salaries

Benue,As Nigeria marks Workers’ Day, the Governor of Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ortom, has declared a state of emergency on the payment of salaries to workers in the state.

The governor made the declaration at the IBB Square in Makurdi, the state capital, insisting that the welfare of workers must be prioritised over ongoing infrastructure projects across the state.

Governor Ortom expects to clear two month’s salary arrears with the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds of N13bn.

The NLC Chairman in the state, Mr. Godwin Anya, commended the governor for deciding to clear the five months’ salary arrears of civil servants in the state.

I Can’t Use All State Resources To Pay Salaries – Aregbesola

Rauf Aregbesola on workers' salariesThe Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday said he cannot use all of the state’s federal allocation to pay workers and pensioners.

Governor Aregbesola speaking at the commissioning of the Osun Job Centre in Osogbo, the State capital, stressed that the development of any state depended on the ingenuity of the leadership to ensure even distribution ‎of resources available.

He added that with a population of over four million people in the state, it is only logical for the civil servants and pensioners to show some understanding with the government.

The Governor made it clear that the inability of the State government to meet its obligation to public servants and pensioners was because the government wanted to meet the development need of the state.

He said that the state’s resources could not sustain the payment of workers’ salaries.

“Some people keep on harping on the fact that we are not paying salaries and I ask them; ‘if we are to use every kobo we have to pay salaries, how horrible will this state be?

“Salary earners and pension earners are 60,000. Osun at the last count has four million people. So, if all we do is pay salary and disregard the needs of over three million people, where are we going to be? It will be a horrible state indeed. It will be a state where life will be difficult and tough,” the Governor stated.

Spread The Revenue

According to him, the only way out would be to spread the revenue of the state affect as many people as possible.

“That is what is known as development.

“So when they tell you that he is not paying salaries, tell them to mind their business. Should we leave it to their very very limited and myopic view, we will have an obnoxious state where life will be brutish and unliveable,”

On his plans for the workers, Governor Aregbesola said: “To make life ‎liveable, we must do what we are doing and that is why we keep on encouraging our workers that we know it is tough with you, but it is not only you. We are all affected. If we can mobilise our citizens, this will be history and by the grace of God, it will be history very very soon”.

Kaduna TUC Urges State Govt. To Pay Civil Servants’ July Salary

TUCThe Kaduna State Council of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has appealed to the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to pay the July salary and wages of  workers under the employment of the state.

While declaring  support to the ongoing verification exercise, the union frowned at the delay in the payment of workers’ salaries and wages, which it said has brought tremendous hardship to the workers and their families.

Addressing reporters at the end of its Executive Council Meeting, the State TUC Chairman,  Shehu Mohammed, also picked holes in the ongoing biometric verification of the state civil servants by the state government, saying the non decentralization and timing of the exercise resulted to the unfortunate suicide attack at Sabon Gari Local Government Secretariat that claimed the lives of their members.

The workers also alleged that government did not carry their leadership along before embarking on the screening exercise.

With the verification exercise still going on, however, the workers are saying that it should not affect the payment of their salaries.

As government tries to sanitize the civil service, they also told the Governor not to sack any genuine civil servant on account of downsizing or cutting down the number of ministries from 19 to 13.

Earlier, the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, had ordered for an audit of the state civil servants.

He explained that the aim was to identify the actual number of workers on the payroll of government and also identify the ghost workers among them.

The Governor, during his maiden state broadcast, announced that the sum of 120 million naira had been been recovered from the verification.

 

SERAP Seeks Probe Of Alleged Stealing Of Teachers’ Salaries

SERAP-logo2The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Minister of Education, Mr Ibrahim Shekarau, to “urgently probe the alleged stealing of teachers’ salaries and benefits in several Federal Government colleges across Nigeria and punish suspected perpetrators”.

In a petition dated August 4 and signed by the SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said that “SERAP had carried out a survey and interviewed hundreds of teachers in the Federal Government Colleges across the country and that the investigations revealed that while many of the teachers interviewed had been promoted to a higher salary scale, their adjusted salaries, which accrued as a result of the promotions, had not been paid for more than 8 years”.

The organisation also said it had documents which suggested that the affected teachers’ salaries and benefits were being diverted by senior officials in the Ministry of Education and with the complicity of some officials in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

The SERAP expressed concern that the situation, apart from constituting a violation of the teachers’ right to work, will impact negatively on the morale of the affected teachers, thus undermining the effective discharge of their teaching responsibilities to millions of Nigerian children.

“We believe that teachers will perform better if they are paid their duly entitlements and benefits.

“We are bringing this matter to the attention of the Minister, so that he can order a thorough investigation into the allegations. The investigation should cover the last 10 years and it is necessary for the sake of transparency and accountability but also in the ultimate interest of the teachers at Federal Government Colleges and the students’ academic and educational progress,” the petition read.

The organisation further stressed that the outcome of the investigation should be made public and that anyone found to be responsible should be brought to justice according to due process.

It called for the payment of all the teachers’ outstanding salaries.

This is not the first time the SERAP has raised issues of corruption in the education sector. An earlier petition of the SERAP, alleging corruption and mismanagement of funds allocated for basic education in  states of the Federation of Nigeria, led to the recovery by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission in October 2007 of more than 488 million Naira looted from state offices and headquarters of the Universal Basic Education Commission.

The case was subsequently taken to the ECOWAS Court, which pronounced that Nigerian children had a right to free education. However, since the judgement was delivered in November 2010, the government has neither acknowledged the judgement nor taken steps to implement the letter and spirit of the judgement.