Delta Council Workers Mobilise Against Gov. Okowa, Say “No Salary, No Okowa 2019”

0
577

All Delta State council workers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, (NULGE), today mobilised against governor Ifeanyi Okowa in a mass protest with a call to pay their 13 monthly salaries been owed them.

The protesters who were carrying placards with different inscriptions like “Okowa You Are Wicked”, “Stop The Killing Of Council Workers”, “Pay Us Our 13 Months Salaries”, “Stop Stealing Local Government Fund”, “No Salary, No Okowa 2019” and others vowed that come 2019, the union shall mobilise its members to work against his second tenure.

HardReporters correspondent who monitor the protest, reports that it stated around 8:30am at the Uvwie local government council secretariat, Effurun, and went round major roads to the Effurun roundabout with members holding leaves and chanting of solidarity songs.

According to the protesters, this protest marks the commencement of the state wide protests promised by the union last week and will be carried out in the three senatorial districts of the state to press home their demands, especially the immediate payment of their 13 months salaries.

The members who took their time to lay curses on governor Okowa, said the governor is not bothered about their plights.

“Can you imagine that in 13 months now council workers have not been paid, yet Okowa has the guts to be hosting town hall meetings at Oghara and Sapele. Okowa is a bad governor and he should be ready for us in 2019. Every time no money but he has money to flex himself and his family.” a protester said.

HardReporters had exclusively reported that, Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s plans to rope in chairmen of the 25 local government councils in the alleged fraudulent expedition of the Paris Club Refund released to states by the President Mohammadu Buhari led administration failed.

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who had issued conditions for release of the second batch of the Paris Club Refund to the states however disclosed that during the first release of the funds, an agreement was reached with the state governments that 50 per cent of any amount received would be earmarked for the payment of salaries and pensions.

Narrating the details of how governor Okowa planned to rope in the council chairmen during a meeting with the council chairmen, a local government council chairman, who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned, disclosed that the governor’s efforts to rope them into the division of the Paris Club Refund failed.

“Some weeks back, the governor, invited all the twenty-five local government areas chairmen to his office for a meeting. To our greatest surprise, the governor asked us to sign for him that he gave us money from the Paris Club Refund which we the council chairmen used to pay five months salaries arearers from the 8-13 months we are owing council workers.

“Having known what the implication will be if we sign for him, everyone got infuriated and refused to sign any paper for him. In fact, my colleague from Ethiope East council, almost ate the governor raw. You know Mrs. Faith Majemite, she doesn’t take nonsense and immediately, she gave it to the governor that non of us will sign anything for him concerning how the Paris Club Refund was expended. Because he managed to released to us only one month salaries.” the chairman disclosed.

Another council chairman from Delta North senatorial district of the state, who was privileged to be in the meeting, accused governor Okowa of diverting the Paris Club Refund to private pockets saying the purpose the money was released was not met. “The governor is trying by all means to cover up the diversion of the Paris Club Refund.”

“Some of our council Chairmen told us about the meeting and how the governor planned to have them sign that they got money from the Paris Club Refund which they used in offsetting five months salaries owed council workers. But, the council chairmen vehemently refused to sign anything as we were told. They said the whole thing was nothing but fraudulent and corruption and they can never be part of it.” our source said.

It would be recalled that following the manner the governor was playing with the non payment of the council workers 13 months salaries, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Delta state chapter, came out to issue a 21 day ultimatum drawn on the governor.

NULGE, in a statement released by the State Secretary, Mr. Peter Ene, and made available to our correspondent, said its members can no “Longer die in silence, endure the excruciating, suffocation and agonies being experienced by members resulting to their sudden death due to hunger and frustration.”

The union therefore slammed a 21-day ultimatum on governor Okowa to as pay up the 8-13 months salary arrears owed the council workers or face industrial action.

“We reject the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries at the expense of the local government workers, governor Okowa should reinstate the N600 million augmentation for payment of primary school teachers’ salaries as it was done by former administrations in the state. Local government councils are tired of the whole things

“NULGE executive council resolved that the State Government should revert to the old order of uniform payment of both local government employees and primary schools teachers with the resources available. We also resolved that the state government should reinstate augmentation for payment of primary school teachers’ salaries because local government council cannot bear the burden alone.

“We will be left with no option than to invoke the instrument of industrial action. And we will declare a trade dispute after our 21-day ultimatum to the state government which started from Friday 5th May, 2017 within which all arrears of salaries ranging from 8-13 months should be paid or be ready to face industrial action.

“We shall organize mass protest rallies in the three senatorial districts within the 21-day ultimatum and the mother of all rallies shall hold in Asaba with our National President, civil society groups and Human Right activists will attend.” the statement added.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here