Saturday, December 23, 2017 9:16 pm
Despite his failure to fufill his promises of payment of four months’ salaries of civil servants in his state ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations, Governor Yahaya Beloo has paid for bags of rice to be distributed across polling units in the State.
The rice, packaged in 10kg bags will be distributed 50 bags per polling unit across the state. Kogi has 2,548 polling units, meaning a total of 127, 400 bags of the rice will be distributed to potential voters across the State by the Governor during the Yuletide season.
Announcing the distribution, the Governor’s Special Assistant on Social Media had on his Facebook Page said: “I’m currently monitoring the loading and transporting of the 50 bags of 10kg Conflunce Rice per polling unit paid for by the state government for Kogites to enjoy this Christmas. Kogi has 2,548 polling units. You do the maths!”
However, the excitement of the media aide of Bello’s rice-o-cracy is not likely to be shared by civil servants Kogi who yesterday have kicked the move by the state government to provide Christmas clothes for 20,000 children by the Governor.
The workers had rejected the offer of Christmas clothes for the children against the backdrop of inability of the State government to fufil the promise of defraying the backlog of salaries being owed them by the State government.
Kogi Commissioner for Finance, Asiwaju Asiru Idris had promised that workers will receive 60% of their four months salary ahead of Christmas and New Year
But workers told journalists in Lokoja on Friday said the alerts they received from their respective banks were only for half salary for only the month of September, leaving out the months of August, October, November and December.
Speaking under the umbrella of Enlightened Workers’ Forum, EWF, the workers asked Governor Bello to pay their salaries rather than distributing free Christmas clothes to Children.
The workers lamented that the Governor still owes core civil servants 20 months arrears, workers in institutions on subventions 11 months and local government workers and primary school teachers nine months.
The statement partly reads, “Rather than making sincere and concrete efforts to pay our salaries, the governor is busy distributing Christmas clothes for 20,000 children.
“If he pays their parents regularly, it will be easy for them to buy clothes for their children. It is not the business of government to be buying Christmas clothes for children and this has turned Kogi State to a laughing stock.
“Offering to buy Christmas clothes for children when salaries are not paid is an attempt to play politics with the poverty of the people and turn the innocent kids to pawns on the political chess board.
“We reject this Christmas Clothes for Children project in its entirety; all we need are our salaries and allowances. Let the governor look for means to pay them so that we can have relief.
“A labourer deserves his wages and the sweat of his labour must not dry on his forehead. We have worked for this money, it is our right and not privilege, the governor must pay our salaries.
“We are also using this medium to call on the Federal Government to investigate how bailout funds, Paris Club refunds, Budget Support Funds sent to Kogi State were spent.
“We believe if these monies are deployed to payment of workers, all these arrears would have been offset by now.”