The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday expressed concern over delay in the release of the N50.9 billion bailout funds approved for Kogi State, and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow ‘‘himself to be hoodwinked by politicians to frustrate his good intention to salvage workers of the state’’.
The NLC chairman in the state, Comrade Onu Edoka, spoke on the occasion of World Teachers’ Day in Lokoja, against the backdrop of insinuation in some quarters that release of the funds were being delayed because of the November 21 governorship elections in the state.
Onu, who described the alleged action as unfortunate, said the suffering workers in the state should not be dragged into politics, adding that what should be paramount to any government is the welfare of workers regardless of political considerations.
“We are worried by the flimsy excuses given over the money which was graciously approved by the president to salvage the Nigeria suffering workers. We can’t understand why Kogi State is different. The reason they are giving for non release of the bailout is not acceptable to Labour in Kogi”, he said.
He said organized Labour in the state would meet and take decisions on the matter in the weeks ahead.
Edoka, who lamented the hardship facing local council workers and teachers in the state, added that efforts will be made to ensure that the bail-out fund is released to off-set their salary arrears.
Earlier, the teachers who turned out for the celebration had chanted:”All We are saying, give us bailout. “Teachers are custodians of societal values, treat them well,” No Teachers, no Nation”, amongst others.
To calm the fraying nerves, pioneer chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kogi, Elder Kayode Okuku begged the teachers to persevere, stressing that God will intervene at the appropriate time.
On his part, Kogi State Head of Service, Dr Moses Atakpa, appealed to the teachers to be patient as government was doing everything possible to alleviate their pains. He said teachers would have cause to smile in the next few weeks.