Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has issued a cease and desist warning to civil servants in his state who he accused of making false claims about unpaid salaries.
“It is also important to sound a warning to those Civil Servants who defame government with claims of long months of unpaid salaries in order to solicit money from gullible people, or evade their own contractual or domestic obligations,” Bello said.
Governor Bello who addressed the people of Kogi on New Year Day said that most of the claims of the civil servants were exaggerated and political. He accused them of creating the stories as an alibi to avoid their obligations and said that the delay in salary payments were caused by a now concluded verification exercise.
Below are the three issues he tried to address in the speech:
Staff Verification Excercise is Responsible for Delayed Salary
“I would like to reiterate that our staff screening and verification exercise has since ended. Cleared civil servants have been earning their rightful salaries for months now, albeit with some hiccups now and then due to evident reasons. In December, we made attempts to clear all backlogs within the limits of the available funds, while doing our best to avoid fresh arrears from building up.
“This information on payment of salaries in relation to the screening exercise is important to dispel the persistent use of alleged non-payment by dishonest and discredited politicians to gain political capital under guise of fighting for Kogi State Civil Servants.
There is a Financial Crisis and It’s Not Easy
Bello admits there is a financial crunch facing the state but said it is country wide and that his administration has managed to achieve a lot in spite of the situation. He however maintained that there was no easy way out.
Here is what he said;
“In spite of the generally harsh financial circumstances in the nation, we were able to commence new projects, continue old ones and even complete a good number of others across the three senatorial districts of the state.
“The biggest challenge facing this administration still remains the paucity of funds to finance our development programmes. It is clear that no magic solution exists for the shortfalls in liquidity which has hit governments all over the world, Nigeria included. The only viable option before us is to increase our creativity in maximising existing sources of funds while developing new ones.”
Turning to Agriculture to Create Jobs
“l am therefore pleased with the progress we have made in agriculture as an alternative source of income and employment. Our first harvest from the experimental farm at Omi Dam was hugely satisfying, considering that it is an initial effort. The first batch of Confluence Rice hit the market in December, 2017. This is a source of income we hope to nurture from domestic sales, and if there is a surplus, distribution to other parts of the country and even overseas export.
“Our rice renaissance is traceable to the Agricultural Revolution Programme (ARP) which we launched with fanfare early in 2017 and have been working on since. Similarly, cashew, cassava, sugarcane and benniseed are some other crops we have big plans for. “We have made advanced progress with possible investors to cultivate these on an industrial scale in 2018. By the end of year, we should be able to attribute at least 15% of our income to earnings from the agricultural sector.”