With prices at an all-time high and keeps increasing by the day, Governor Yahaya Bello has budgeted N1.5billion for refreshments and N600 million for maintenance without paying workers’ salaries in full. This has led to lots of remarks by the state civil servants especially teachers.
We now look to God for survival ― Kogi workers
Some primary school teachers and local government workers in Kogi have decried what they termed “neglect and lack of empathy for workers”.
Though the state government has been up to date with the payment of state workers, however, primary school teachers and local government workers still receive percentage salaries.
They said the policy was making life unbearable for them in view of the current economic hardship.
In separate interviews with, some local government workers and primary school teachers who all spoke on condition of anonymity, said since the state government tampered with their salary structure and payment system introducing one deduction after the other, many have had to contend with the new reality pursuant to the emergence of the New Direction led-government of Governor Yahaya Bello.
One of the workers who complained bitterly on phone, said she received N16,000 instead of N45,000 basic salary she ought to be paid as a Level 7 LG worker.
“As I speak to you, my son who is studying in KSU (Kogi varsity) called me to send money for him to refill his gas, but I couldn’t help but cry over the phone as a result of this critical situation in the state.
“The last salary I collected was N16,000. I am supposed to be paid N45,000 as a Level 7 worker, but the percentage salary has put me at a disadvantage,”One of the workers said.
A teacher, who also spoke in confidence, said she had tried to start a business to supplement the dwindling uncertain salary package, but access to capital was a hurdle for her to cross.
“I had wanted to secure a bank loan, where my salary was paid into, but the bank don’t give teachers in the state loans.
“It’s that crazy. I have no other choice than to look to God to survive this hard time,” she said.
A retiree, who begged not to be mentioned for security reasons, said his wife is receiving 40% as monthly salary, claiming she has not been paid since August.
“Local government workers and primary school teachers have not received their September salary.
“Even the one they (government) are paying is not full salary (100% payment) but percentage.
“Like my wife, she is receiving 40% and has not been paid for September.
“The people that are mostly affected by this percentage salary are local government workers,” he said.
Further investigation by Vanguard revealed that university lecturers in the state are not affected by the percentage salary, although there are some lapses in terms of payment of allowances and all other arrears owned them by the State Government.
“Our payment is not on percentage basis but the issue is we’re denied of other allowances, including arrears that we’re entitled to as lecturers and also, there is no promotion as and when due.
“Though the economic hardship in the country is affecting everyone, we have to accept it with good fate,” said a senior lecturer.
ASUSS and NUT React to the situation
Reacting, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) in Kogi, lamented the shortage of teachers in the state, as a result of the fallouts of the various screening exercise conducted by the Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration, which led to the exit of teachers from classrooms due to massive compulsory retirement.
The State ASUSS Chairman, Mr. Ranti Ojo who spoke on the sideline of the 2021 International Teachers Day in Lokoja, said the union is pained and disillusioned over the precarious circumstance.
“If Kogi must actually return to her pride of place in Northern Nigeria educationally, recruitment of more teachers is critical and urgent,” he said.
Also, the State Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Comrade Thomas Ayodele, decried the welfare of its members, saying all is not well with teachers in the state.
“Permit me to further draw the attention of the state government to the fact that primary school teachers like their counterparts in the state civil service, are entitled to 100% salary payment.
“It is our hope that his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello will live up to his promise and eradicate this obnoxious practice that has made primary school teachers lesser human being than other category of workers in the state,” Comrade Ayodele noted.
Kogi Governor Budget N1.5billion and N600 million despite owing salaries
The Kogi State Government led by Governor Yahaya Bello has earmarked humongous sums for refreshments, furnishing of offices and others in its 2022 budget, despite its inability to pay the salaries of workers for several months.
the state budget for 2022 presented to the State House of Assembly, where the government is set to spend more than N1.5billion on refreshments and more than N600million for the furnishing of the Office of the Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja.
This is as civil servants in Kogi State are begging to feed their families, due to non-payment of their monthly emoluments.
According to the budget proposal, Bello will also be spending N50million on donations and redemption of pledges.
The governor also budgeted N500million as “expenses incidental to governor’s tour.”
Last year, N400million was set aside for a similar purpose.
Meanwhile, the furnishing of the Office of the Deputy Governor in 2022 will gulp over N600million from the state budget according to a document released by Sahara reporters.