Workers in government establishments in Kogi State have cried out over the abysmally low fraction of their monthly salaries the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello is now paying them.
Many of the aggrieved workers at the state and local government levels, who shared their grievances with SaharaReporters on Monday, revealed that Bello’s administration was paying between 17 and 25 per cent of their original salaries despite the promises the governor made to them to pay the N30,000 new minimum wage in the country.
According to them, the situation has made life more difficult for the majority of civil servants and their families in Kogi, especially going by the rising cost of living in Nigeria at the moment.
A civil servant based in the state capital, Lokoja, who gave his name only as Clement, told SaharaReporters that many of his colleagues were now battling various ailments as they do not have enough funds to attend to their health needs.
He said the situation, which has forced many of them to trek to work and back to their homes in a bid to cut costs, has equally caused the deaths of some, whose conditions were made worse by the failure of the state government to pay their full salaries or a reasonable part of it.
“The state government has been paying local government workers 17 per cent salary since this year.
“Also, the N30,000 minimum wage approved for workers is just mere talk, in Kogi nothing of such has been witnessed by workers.
“This has left many of our colleagues battling various illnesses caused by deprivation and frustration.
“Many civil servants have died because they cannot afford to feed themselves and families despite serving the state government diligently.
“The situation is really terrible, I am afraid because worse things will still happen considering the hardship being experienced by government workers in Kogi.
“Governor Bello has really failed the workers by compounding their sufferings with the crazy deduction of their salaries,” Clement said.
Lamenting that his mother had been battling a stroke for several months as a consequence of the drastic cut in the salaries of civil servants in Kogi by the state government, a young man named Philux Ibrahim told SaharaReporters that the situation had made life tougher for the family.
According to him, his father, who is also a local government employee in the state, is experiencing the same treatment despite being a level-16 staff member.
Ibrahim said the care of his parents and siblings fell mostly on his shoulders as he had to support them from the little he was earning.
“Salary in Kogi State has always been an issue. It’s affecting a lot of workers and their families, especially at the local government level.
“Both of my parents work at the local government level. My dad is retiring in three months while my mother will retire in less than a year too.
“In October 2019, her salary was stopped after she went for a promotional interview because they assumed that she did not get a study leave, which she did.
“Since she completed her studies at the university, they have refused to move her to the next level, which is 15. Instead, she and other local government employees have been paid a fraction of their salaries by the state government.
“There are thousands of civil servants in Kogi dying silently, committing suicide because they can’t afford their responsibility at home.
“My mother is down with a stroke, she hasn’t been fine for the past four years now and there is no money to take care of her medical bills.
“My father is suffering from this and my siblings are all in school while I’m the only one managing to find support for the family.
“What about those that don’t have children like my parents to support them financially?
“A lot of suffering is being meted out to civil servants in Kogi State, the world must know about this and rise for the men and women dying daily because of poor salaries,” he said.
Austin Okai, a social critic, in April 2021 accused Governor Bello of treating civil servants as slaves, adding that he had no excuse for the continued payment of ridiculous salaries to workers.
“Local government workers, secondary school teachers, and other employees of the state government are receiving mere stipends from the state and local government authorities without any explanation. Officers on salary grade level 13 in the state are receiving between N26,000 to N30,000 per month, with so many unpaid outstanding salaries to other categories of workers.
“Ever since the ambition of the governor for the presidency came on board, Yahaya Bello has permanently relocated to Abuja and along with his Chief of Staff, where top state government functionaries come to prostrate before getting some stipends to run the affairs of their offices.
“There is nothing like governance in Kogi State; and unfortunately, everybody is living under fear, hence, the majority of people and organised labour unions have decided to remain mute for fear of the unknown. The state is in comatose as nothing works while ‘eye service’ is at its peak.”
The governor has not hidden his desire to succeed Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s next President in 2023.
He has promised to transform the country if given the chance to preside over its affairs.
But his critics have been quick to point to his near-disastrous reign in Kogi as enough reason why he is not a good fit for such a lofty role.
News AddThis : Original Author : SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK Disable advertisements :