Owed for several months, Kogi State workers have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and other well meaning Nigerians to come to their aid by sending them food, drugs and other materials.
They urged President Buhari to direct the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other humanitarian agencies to supply them food and relief materials.
A humanitarian issue: The state chapters of the NLC, TUC and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) released a joint statement on Wednesday saying, “The situation of workers in the state is worse than the condition of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in various camps. The agony of the workers is not in any way less than the experiences of victims of natural disasters. A situation where workers cannot afford even one meal a day and pay the school fees of their children is already a humanitarian issue.”
Situation report as per the labour unions: Currently –
- Over 30 per cent of the workforce are owed 21 months salaries
- 20 per cent are owed between 11 and 18 months
- About 45 per cent took their salaries up till June this year.
Blackmail and falsehood: The Kogi government in a response this evening described the statement by the unions as “unrelenting blackmail and promotion of falsehood against government” and a “hatchet job of failed political warlords from the state.”
Kogi government came up with a list of people and issues to blame for their inability to pay workers. According to Kingsley Fanwo, the spokesman of Gov. Yahaya Bello:
- Labour unions are working at the behest of failed politicians
- The immediate past administration collected allocations running into billions of naira between September and December 2015. But for those four months, they did not pay a dime to the workers. Labour leaders kept quiet until few weeks to the inauguration of the present administration before they went on strike, ostensibly to disrupt the inauguration of the present administration.
- Disgruntled elements are uncomfortable with the digitalization of the civil service operations which will curb truancy and corruption.
- There is paucity of resources across the nation that is not peculiar to Kogi.