National Assembly Workers Protest Over Unpaid Salaries

Staff members of the National Assembly on Tuesday protested what they said is unpaid wages and lack of due promotion.

Some of the workers claim they are being owed wages from as far back as 2010. They also alleged that funds meant for training had been diverted.

Carrying banners and placards, some of the workers were heard chanting “no pay, no sitting”.

The workers, who are protesting inside the National Assembly also blocked the entrance into the legislative chambers.

When the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, arrived at the Assembly, he was prevented from going into the Senate chamber with the workers chanting “no sitting”.

The angry workers also prevented him from addressing them.

Meanwhile, the management of the National Assembly says all the issues raised by the workers are being addressed. In a letter signed by the clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, the management promised to engage the workers on all the issues they had raised.

“The management of the national assembly under my watch has established an open channel for interfacing with PASAN (Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria) to utilise this channel always and reciprocate this gesture,” the letter read in part.

Omolori denied the allegation that workers’ promotion letters are being withheld by the management but merely investigating breaches to established guidelines for promotion, upgrading and conversion of officers.

He added that promotion to the next salary grade level and rank is a privilege for deserving staff who have fulfilled all conditions per cent.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu was prevented from gaining entry into the Senate Chamber

 

Lack Of Accountability Responsible For Unpaid Salaries – Lawyer

Eze Onyekpere

The Executive Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere, has blamed the inability to pay workers’ salaries on lack of accountability on the part of state governors.

Onyekpere believes most states would have been able to pay workers’ salaries if their governors used the Paris Club refunds in line with the Federal Government’s recommendations.

“Beyond the (Paris Club) refunds, we had bailout funds which had been given to the states at the initial period and with a sub-national fiscal sustainability plan, which they were asked to conform to if they were serious about running their states,” he said on Channels Television’s political programme on Tuesday.

“Available evidence indicates that most of the states have not actually looked at that fiscal sustainability plan in terms of introducing greater accountability and transparency in their budgeting process, opening up their procurement process, opening up their debt sustainability process in such a way that they can procure debts that will be sustainable and generally looking inwards to raise more money within the state.”

– Little Emperors In Their Domain –

The lawyer accused the governors of running the affairs of their state as “little emperors”, saying a situation where workers were owed salaries for months was a result of the inability of the legislature to call them to order in terms of funds management.

“What we have first of all is an accountability challenge and that challenge is that the State Houses of Assembly are not in a position to hold the governors and call them to account.

“So it’s a question of lack of accountability coupled with the resources that are getting leaner and leaner by the day. That has led to a situation where governors are like little emperors in their domain. Nobody challenges them, the legislature is not there to hold them to account.

“At the end of the day, they spend the money the way they like and this is what has led to this situation where workers are perpetually owed and I’m sure that across all the states of the federation, people who are supposed to get pension are not paid,” he said.

Onyekpere further called on Nigerians, including the media and civil society to focus more on the affairs of the state.

He said more attention is needed at the state level, stressing that the issue of unpaid salaries might not have lingered for so long if state governors were accountable to the legislature.

“The most reasonable thing to do is that if they (the governors) were in an actual democracy, the legislature should have been the body to call the leaders of the executive to account.

“But I think also that it is an opportunity for civil society, the media, the academia, for everybody, to become more interested in what is happening at the state level because it appears we are more focused on what is happening at the federal level,” the lawyer said.

Osun PDP Begs FG, Buhari To Pay Osun Workers, Pensioners Directly

naira-notesThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State is appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari and relevant agencies of the Federal Government to pay workers and retirees directly from Osun’s share of the 522.7 billion Naira funds to be given to states for payment of salaries and pensions.

A spokesman for the PDP in the state, Prince Diran Odeyemi, told Channels Television that past experiences triggered the fear being expressed by the party and people of the state over the coming funds.

Prince Odeyemi said the party was expressing the fear that Governor Rauf Aregbesola may not use the money for payment of salaries and pension, just as it urged the Federal Government not to back out of its plan to probe the utilisation of the bailout funds given to states last year for payment of salaries.

“We are concerned basically because the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had last week disclosed that Federal Government has decided to hand out funds to the states from the over deducted funds for the repayment of debt owed Paris Club by states,” he pointed out.

Prince Odeyemi further said that “for the efforts of the Federal Government to stimulate the economy, relying on salaries and pensions to yield the expected results in the state, we believe that the Federal Ministry of Finance should liaise with banks handling payment of salaries and pensions for workers and pensioners and not hand the money over to state governments”.‎

“It is so unfortunate that the State House of Assembly is attacking the Senate because it is commencing probe into how Aregbesola spent bailout funds given to Osun State last year to pay salaries.

“We recommend the lawmakers in the State Assembly for refresher course in responsive and responsible legislative business for them to imbibe patriotic act of always staying with the popular course that will benefit the general populace.

“For attempting to shield Aregbesola from probe of special funds he received to pay salaries and pensions from federal government, the lawmakers are only sending signals that they partook in the diversion of the funds.

“To show they are no longer stooge of Aregbesola, we advise the lawmakers to immediately mandate Ogbeni to appoint cabinet members and conduct local government elections.

“People are already seeing them as enemies of the masses and when Ogbeni eventually return to Lagos, Osun people will definitely ask the lawmakers questions about their roles in the mess Osun is plunged into,” the PDP spokesperson added.

TUC Issues Ajimobi 5-Day Ultimatum Over Unpaid Salaries, Pensions

Ajimobi, Oyo State, Unpaid Salaries, TUCThe Oyo State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has issued a five day ultimatum to the state government to immediately offset a backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and other arrears for 8 months.

Chairman of the TUC in Oyo State, Comrade Emelieze Andrew, issued this warning in Ibadan during a chat with journalists following the expiration of a grace period of 15 days.

The Union noted that the recent agreement between Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Oyo State Government is unacceptable, describing the alliance as unholy.

Comrade Emelieze further emphasized that the agreement to end the 7-week old strike was not a true reflection of the yearnings of the various unions involved in the struggle.

The TUC therefore stated that it would mobilise its people to begin an indefinite mass action if government remains adamant.

This 2nd ultimatum is coming barely a week after the NLC suspended a 7-week industrial action across the state over unpaid wages and related issues.

Unpaid Salaries Responsible For Economic Depression – Issa Aremu

Issa Aremu, Unpaid Salaries, depressionThe former Vice President of the National Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Issa Aremu, has faulted the nonpayment of workers’ salaries as a reason for the dwindling state of the Nigerian Economy.

Mr Aremu said this on Sunrise Daily, while discussing the issue of nonpayment of workers’ salaries in several states of the country.

“It’s clear that some of our governors have not understood the oath of office which they took.

“Go and read the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) with all its limitations, in chapter 2, the fundamental principle of state is welfare and the security of the citizens, specifically, that section recognised the need for shelter, pension, (and) adequate pay.

“One of the reasons we have serious depression now in the economy is that working people have become beggars, they can’t pay for goods and services to turn the economy around.”

The Former Labour VP, also stated that the Governors should not give excuses for not meeting their obligations.

He argued that any Governor that cannot meet the required obligation should resign.

“Governance is a serious business, we have said so, any Governor that cannot meet basic obligation should leave.

“It’s not to give excuses, it’s clearly an impeachable offence.

“I am saying so because (for) states that are paying, it’s about the value they assign to their human resources and not that they don’t have other commitments with which they could not have the financial means to meet them.” he added.

Resident Doctors To Embark On Warning Strike

Resident Doctors The National Association of Resident Doctors has announced a 5-day warning strike which will commence on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

The doctors’ new date for the industrial action is coming after the expiration of a 35-day ultimatum it earlier gave the federal government to look into issues including unpaid salaries and disengagement of some of their colleagues.

The President of the association, Dr. Muhammad Askira, told journalists at a press conference in Abuja that they are unsatisfied by the efforts of the government to resolve the impasse during the period of the ultimatum.

Benue State Introduces e-Payment System For Teachers

e-paymentThe Benue State Government has introduced e-payment system for primary school teachers in the state to address the crisis of unpaid salaries in the sub-sector.

The decision was taken at the State Executive Council meeting held in Makurdi, during which issues affecting the civil service and the state of environmental hygiene were discussed.

The meeting, chaired by Governor Samuel Ortom, also mandates a commitment to clear all illegal waste dump sites and ensure the relocation of the Wurukum market to the new Ultra-modern market.

Following these decisions and its impacts on the people of the state, the Governor has scheduled an interactive meeting for Friday (October 16) to allow the people make imputes to his administration.

Okorocha Promises To Pay Workers Three Months Outstanding Wages

Rochas-Okorochao-APC-Governor-ForumThe Imo State Government is set to pay three months outstanding salaries with the recent Federal Government bail out funds made available to the state government.

During an interactive session with civil servants in the state at the conference hall of the Imo Trade Centre, in Owerri the Imo State capital, the state governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, expressed dissatisfaction over the actions of the workers through series of protests and strikes, stressing that it is a known fact that his administration has never owed any worker since its inception and the circumstances surrounding this is a national issue and not peculiar to Imo State.

The Governor said as a way of showing his love for civil servants in the state, he approved one month post payment of salaries in addition to the 2-3 months being owed by the state government.

While commending the Governor for his intervention in the plight of workers in the state, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Imo State, Mr Austin Chilakpu told the governor that their agitations is neither political nor personal but it is for the betterment of Imo workers, adding that the workers in the state will continue to support the Okorocha-led administration.

Meanwhile, Governor Okorocha has inaugurated the committee to handle the payment of the salaries headed by the Chief of Staff to the Imo State Government, Mr. Uche Nwosu.

Unpaid Salaries: Osun Workers To Resume Strike

osun strikeLabour leaders in Osun State, South-west Nigeria, have resolved to continue with the on-going industrial action until the state government fulfills all the points raised in the agreement reached in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed with the workers on payment of the two months salaries.

Speaking on the position of the union after hours of meeting, the state Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Bayo Adejumo, maintained that workers will not return to work until the full payment of January and February salary is implemented.

The labour leaders said they have reached a decision on the way forward for the Osun workforce and have also taken a position on what they termed as “breach of agreement” on the state governments part having signed a Memorandum of Understanding with government to offset two out of the seven months unpaid salaries.

It is said that the decision on who to read the resolution of the labour leaders became a difficulty before the Chairman of the JNC read it out, and was silent on whether the strike continues or is suspended.

Earlier this month, there was an agreement between the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Osun State Government as the 6-weeks strike embarked upon had been suspended.

The Chairman of the Union, Jacob Adekomi, said that the Union agreed to suspend the strike as government has fulfilled its part by paying the two months arrears.

Unpaid Salaries: Governor Okorocha Appeals To Workers To Be Patient

unpaid salariesThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has made a passionate appeal to workers in the Imo State to remain patient as the government is committed to ensuring that in no distant time all salaries being owed by the state government would be paid accordingly.

The Governor gave this assurance in Owerri the Imo State capital while speaking to Government House correspondents at the government house.

This is in the face of the crisis of unpaid salaries of workers rocking most states of the federation.

He said that the government does not have any intention of downsizing or slashing workers salaries as peddled by some quarters, noting that his government is a worker-friendly government and the challenge of the unpaid salaries is not peculiar to Imo state.

He, however, advised workers in the state to remain committed and dedicated to their duties as the state government will not condone any form of financial recklessness, laziness and activities of ghost workers.

Imo State is one of the state in the federation listed to be owing workers and pensioners.

Unpaid Salaries: State Governors Disregard The Budget – Prof Bello

Olasemi-Akintola-Bello on unpaid salariesThe team leader of the European Union Support for Nigeria’s Federal Government Reforms, Professor Olaseni Akintola-Bello, says the inability of some state governments to pay salaries is as a result of the Governor’s disregard for the state’s budget.

He said that the ‘scissors crisis’ situation, where expenditure is rising faster than revenue, required some fiscal reforms.

Professor Bello stressed the need for the Governors to understand the budget very well.

“If you look at the budget, you have the recurrent revenues and the recurrent expenditure. There are two aspects of the budget and one aspects are discretionary while others are non-discretionary.

“Capital expenditure are discretionary while payment of salaries and pensions are non-discretionary.

“If the governors can match their revenue to their expenditure and raise debt within their ability to repay they won’t have problems,” Professor Bello said.

“Fiscal indiscipline is why they have challenges. If there is a way that we can bring about fiscal discipline, that is the first step.”

He also stressed that the Governors must adhere to fiscal transparency roles, which are international good practices.

“A governor or a state is supposed to publish monthly or quarterly report to ensure that people follow the activities,” Professor Bello said.

Some States government in Nigeria had few days ago, requested for a bailout from the Federal Government, saying that the dwindling revenue allocation had forced them to seek help.

Amosun Orders Payment of Salary Arrears To OOU Lecturers

Amosun_ogunOgun State Governor, Mr Ibikunlle Amosun has ordered the management of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, to effect the immediate payment of the outstanding one month salary arrears owed lecturers of the institution.

Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, in a statement issued in Abeokuta, also said the governor has promised that all other outstanding arrears would be paid without delay.

He stated that the Amosun-led administration inherited a backlog of arrears from the immediate past administration, adding however that it had prioritised payment of wages, cleared the backlog and restored normalcy to wages administration.

Adeoluwa stated that “inspite of significant life-changing infrastructural development initiatives going on across the state, the 32-month old government does not owe workers’ salaries and noted that the state is one of the very first to show commitment to paying the new minimum wage in 2011.”

The SSG added that since its assumption, the Government had committed N1 billion to clear part of the accrued allowances, saying there was also an agreement with all the unions to commit a further N500 million towards the payment of related allowances.

“In the 32 months of our administration, we not only had cleared between nine and 11 months of wages arrears left by the last government, the staffers of Olabisi Onabanjo University, and workers everywhere in Ogun State got their salaries. In OOU, some of the backlog of unpaid allowances (as distinct from monthly salary) that is now touted as the reason for the Monday protest action dated back to six to seven years.

“Since we came on board, government had committed N1 billion to clear part of the accrued allowances. In addition, there is agreement with all the unions to commit a further N500 million this financial year towards the payment of related allowances”, Adeoluwa said.

He blamed the current development on the dwindling Federal Allocation and Internally Generated Revenue of the state, pointing out that borrowing to pay salaries would be counter-productive to the development of the state.

“The current hiccups began in the middle of 2013 as direct fallout of the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) cash crisis. This is a public knowledge and our esteemed comrades in the ivory tower, OOU, understand the issues well. In spite of the dwindling resources, both from FAAC and IGR receipts, our administration has maintained a disciplined stand against casual borrowings to pay salaries. We believe that borrowing to pay wages to engender temporary industrial and labour peace in the short term will hurt the long term interests of the state”,  the SSG explained.

He thanked the lecturers and the entire workforce in the state for their support for the administration and urged them to remain calm and further collaborate with it to rebuild the state.