By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
As Kogi joins the rest of Workers to celebrate 40 years anniversary of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the organized Labour in the State have urged Governor Yahaya Bello to pay their salaries,saying they are dying of hunger due to non payment of salaries by his administration.
The State Chairman Nigeria Labour Congress Comrade Onuh Edoka while speaking on behalf of thousands of workers during the 40th anniversary of NLC in Lokoja told the governor that his policies are mostly anti workers.
Comrade Edoka further stated that the union is aware of the premature retirement and termination of workers appointment by the governors administration.
According to him “Your excellency, workers sitting here today said I should ask you where is our salary. As your obedient servant, we are dying. As people who have contributed there quotas in Kogi State and has left the service, as pensioners we are dying.
“To this end, we wish to compassionately appeal to you. We are aware that allocation came to Kogi State last month and by the statement of the commissioner for finance, what came as allocation to the State was put at N4.3billion and what came to Local Government was put at N3.8billion. To this end, up till this moment, no salaries has been paid in kogi state.
“We are already aware that as at yesterday, FAAC meeting has already been held and over N638billion have been shared and I know Kogi State government will have a share in it. Let our own not drop into river Niger again.”
Edoka used the forum to speak on the alleged premature retirement of some workers, proscription of labour unions and the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by medical doctors in Kogi State.
“You will agree with me that appointment in this government has been done upside down, junior workers are placed before their senior and the senior working under their junior.
“I will make it more clearer that this government for the first time in the history of the State introduce what they called percentage salaries to workers and pensioners.
“If civil service have been kept in this form before the coming of this administration, the civil service would have been in disarray.
He lamented that the Medical doctors in Kogi state have been on strike for over one month,noting that mothers, children are dying at home.
“For this obvious fact, we appeal to the State Government to call our doctors on a round table and bring this mater to a conclusive end.
“Why the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have not joined any issues of strike is because we have come to the realization that strike may not be the solution to our problems any more. It is all about the person who is the chief executive and his state of mind on the development and welfare of workers.
“The proscription of unions in Kogi State is completely detrimental to the progress of democracy, unacceptable to Nigeria Labour Congress and completely illegal and we shall not stand by it any more.
“We should have it at the back of our mind that this 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 will not be tamed in any form or turn beggars In our own state” Comrade Edoka added.
Speaking, the Kogi State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello said the ongoing fight against corruption across the country would achieved greater success if the Organised Labour strengthens itself and work with government to fish out corrupt officials.
Bello urged the organised Labour to, apart from 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 corrupt officials in and outside the system.
The Governor who was represented at the occasion by his Deputy Elder Simon Achuba congratulated the organised Labour for attaining the age of 40 and for it’s struggle over the years, enjoining the leadership of the union to always stand for what is good for the workers and the country.
He used the forum to assure Kogi workers that very soon salaries will be paid as at when due, while urging them to continue to support the present administration of the state.
Bello added the difficulties experienced by Governors across the country in paying salaries on time, would soon be over urging civil servants to continue to pray and work with government to achieve the feat.
In his remarks, the former Head of Service, Dr Moses Atakpa advised the organised Labour to always engage the government in dialogue, saying dialogue is the best way of resolving crisis.