By Balkis Tijani.
Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State, has maintained that the state government will not take on the responsibility of offsetting the salary arrears of local government workers/SUBEB teachers.
The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye at the weekend, noted that although it is not the responsibility of the state government to offset the outstanding wages, he will appeal to the Local Government to pursue means of paying the arrears.
Ajakaye was quoted as saying: “This administration inherited that unfortunate situation, although government is a continuum. Now, the NFIU directives which came into effect in June meant that the state government no longer has any access to LG funds. To that extent, the debt is beyond the new administration but the government will continue to engage and appeal to the LGs to find a way of paying the debt because it is the right of the workers to be paid their salaries.
“In any case, those people trying to twist my words would have to convince the public, especially the hardworking LG workers, why nothing is being owed the same council workers under this administration. If anything, they have started getting 100% pay since this government came on board. That is the clear difference. That is the essence of transparency, sincerity and commitment that are the features of the new administration. We will always be faithful and sincere to the people at all time. That’s a promise.”
However, the suspended chairman of Ekiti Local Government Council, Comrade Yinka Dallas, defended why the Local Government could not pay salaries which led to the backlogs.
Comrade Dallas argued that the arrears were owed during the recession.
He also added that Ilorin West, East and South cannot pay salaries with the allocation they’re receiving, while accusing the state government of robbing two local governments to augment for other weaker LGs before salaries could be paid.
He said: “Those arears were owed during recession, we equally spent 18 months in council and we payed 15 months full salary. 88% and 85% twice. No State government as at today is honouring the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) guidelines. The Governor’s Forum is frustrating the process claiming they are in court on it.
“What Kwara is presently operating is what I call skeletal Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) which is worse than the existing JAAC. If we claim to be following the NFIU directive, when we remove all the lawful statutory deductions from the Baruteen and Kaiama allocation, the remaining funds left will be joined with that of Ilorin West and others so that they can pay salary. After which all LG now go home with is about N4million + to run council for a month.
“I challenge anyone that says I’m wrong on a public debate. If this government does not rob north, no council in the central can pay full salary.
“They must rob those two LGs to augment for other weaker LGs. That is how Governor Abdulrazaq will govern till his last day in office.
“I challenge this government that Ilorin West, East and South cannot pay salaries with the allocation they’re receiving up till last month.”