Kogi state governor, Captain Idris Wada, has said he was fair enough to Kogi striking workers, saying he could only pay salaries based on the amount received from the federation account.
Wada was reacting to the workers’ threat to go on a street protest over the non-payment of three month salaries. The workers taken an industrial strike since December 23rd, 2015.
Addressing a joint news conference in Lokoja on Tuesday along with the Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council, the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Onuh Edoka, criticized Wada for collecting three months Federal allocation running into N10 billion without paying a dime to workers.
Edoka said that since the creation of the state in 1991, workers have not had it as rough as with the Wada administration, adding that the government is owing state workers over three months salaries, while local government workers and primary school teachers are being owed between 7 – 21 months salary arrears.
Edoka accused the governor of allocating to himself the sum of over N78 million as traveling expenses for three days, also claiming he had spent over N750 Million within seven days on security.
Reacting to the allegations through his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Jacob Edi, the governor described them as lies aimed at tarnishing his image.
The governor, who has admitted that the labour leaders met with him on December 31st last year when he briefed them about the financial position of the state, said that he was surprised that the same labor leaders refused to abide by the agreement reached at the meeting, noting that he could not be blamed for not paying salaries.
He said the amount received from the federation account within those three months were too meager to pay salaries as banks made heavy deductions on the deposits.
The governor said the non payment of workers’ salaries does not only affect Kogi, as other states are owing their workers with over seven month salaries.
He said that workers should rather protest the Central Bank of Nigeria which has refused to release earmarked bailout funds, rather than protesting his government.