Workers have come down hard on the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in Kogi State, accusing Governor Yahaya Bello of insensitivity to their welfare.The State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Onuh Edoka who spoke on behalf of thousands of workers at an event to mark the body’s 40th anniversary in Lokoja, told the governor that they had not have it this bad since the creation of the state in 1991. He accused the governor of nonchalance to their plight.He said: After the run down of the scorecards of all previous administrations and the hardship we have been through, this present administration has been more autocratic.
“The occasion is a historic one and we have just taken stock of stewardships before yours and what we have passed through even in the military era.“In the same vein, we have identified the ones under the present administration. There is no gain saying that your government is not the only one that suppressed workers in Kogi State, but we are not becoming used to this your own, because your policies against us are becoming tougher than those of your predecessors.
“We should have it at the back of our minds that these voices that we are forcing to be silent today, time shall come when you will no longer be in government and you will require us. “We will speak for the voiceless and the same voice will still speak again. We shall resist it with the last drop of our blood to see that we are not be tamed in any form or turned into beggars in our own state.”
He asked the governor to defray the salaries of workers, whom he said, were dying of hunger.Edoka said the union was aware of the premature retirement and disengagement of workers by the government.He claimed N3.8 billion of N4.3 billion allocation that came to the state last month was disbursed to council areas yet no salaries had been paid.
Governor Bello, however, noted that the ongoing anti-corruption fight nationwide could only succeed if organised labour strengthens itself and work with government to fish out tainted officials.
He urged labour to, besides its traditional role of fighting for the welfare of Nigerian workers, always play the role of whistle blowers to assist government in bringing to book the bad eggs in the system.
Represented by his deputy, Elder Simon Achuba congratulated the NLC on the occasion. He assured the workers of payment soon.