Workers in Kogi State on Tuesday failed to turn up en mass to celebrate the 2018 May Day celebration.
The day was celebrated in Lokoja on a low key owing to the fact that workers are protesting non payment of several months salaries by the state government.
The usual rituals of the day which include match past from workers and solidarity songs could not be held as few workers present at the Lokoja Confluence Stadium, venue of this year’s celebration could not hide their grievances on the way their employer is handling the issues of workers’ welfare.
Some of the workers who spoke with this reporter said that it was a reflection of the hard times workers were going through at this time.
“From where do you want somebody who has not been paid for 5 months get transport fare just to come and listen to rhetoric that will not change anything?” a worker who preferred anonymity said.
He described this years celebration as the worst in recent years.
Meanwhile, the Kogi state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress has called for a comprehensive probe on how all funds accruing to the state in the last two years were spent.
The state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Onu Edoka made the call in Lokoja.
Edoka said that it was strange that inspite of the huge amount that came in form of bailout, Paris Club Refund and Ecological funds in the last two years coupled with the civil service reforms aimed at weeding out unintended beneficiaries from the payrolls, many workers were still being owed several months arrears ranging from 5 to 24 months, while some have been receiving percentages of their salaries.
According to him, pensioners were not left out of the selective payments.
He said that it is on record that the state government had received these funds and it is imperative that the government ask questions especially from those charged with the responsibility of paying workers salaries as majority of workers are still suffering under the yoke of non payments.
“The vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo recently disclosed that states have shared N1.9 trillion Paris club refund between them. If all these funds have been coming to the state, couple with the saving said to have been made from the just concluded screening exercise, and yet workers are still being owed, then questions must be asked from those charged with the responsibility of paying workers salaries,” he said.
The chairman also called for concerted efforts to address the incessant killings and clashes between farmers and herdsmen and communal clashes in parts of the state.