“We Want Our Salaries, Not Christmas Clothes” – Kogi Workers Tell Gov. Bello

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By Amuda Dan Sulaiman FAB.
Civil Servants in Kogi State have risen against the purchase and sewing of Christmas clothes for 20,000 children in the state by Governor Yahaya Bello describing the gesture as a ploy to jettison the payment of workers salaries.
The workers, under the umbrella of Enlightened Workers’ Forum, EWF, appealed to Governor Bello to accord priorities to the payment of backlog of salary arrears owed them rather than distributing free Christmas gifts to Children.
The EWF statement which was made available to journalists in Lokoja, yesterday, reads in part:
“We are still at a loss why the governor still owes core civil servants twenty months arrears, workers in institutions on subventions eleven months and local government workers and primary school teachers nine months.
“Rather than making sincere and concrete efforts to pay our salaries, the governor is busy distributing Christmas clothes for 20,000 children.
“If he pays their parents regularly, it will be easy for them to buy clothes for their children. It is not the business of government to be buying Christmas clothes for children and this has turned Kogi State to a laughing stock.
“Offering to buy Christmas clothes for children when salaries are not paid is an attempt to play politics with the poverty of the people and turn the innocent kids to pawns on the political chess board.
“We reject this Christmas Clothes for Children project in its entirety; all we need are our salaries and allowances. Let the governor look for means to pay them so that we can have relief.
“A labourer deserves his wages and the sweat of his labour must not dry on his forehead. We have worked for this money, it is our right and not privilege, the governor must pay our salaries.
“We are also using this medium to call on the Federal Government to investigate how bailout funds, Paris Club refunds, Budget Support Funds sent to Kogi State were spent.
“We believe if these monies are deployed to payment of workers, all these arrears would have been offset by now.”
Investigations carried out by this reporter shows that workers have started seeing alerts for just half salary for the month of September.

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