Union protests non-payment of salaries in Kwara

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Kwara State Chapter on Wednesday staged a protest in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital over non-payment of backlog of their salaries.

Members of the Union came out en masse to stage the protest which later turned violent. The workers protested at the Palace of the Emir of Ilorin and Government House, Ilorin calling for quick payment of their backlog of arrears.

The workers carried different placards with inscriptions urging government to come to their rescue. It took the intervention of stern looking riot policemen to disperse the angry NULGE workers at the Government House, Ilorin.

Reacting to the protest, the Kwara State Government sympathised with the workers regarding the unfortunate salary crises at the local government level, explaining that the government is not constitutionally responsible for payment of local government workers salaries.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communications, Dr. Muideen Akorede who explained the incident that led to the dispersing of the workers said all options offered to dialogue with Governor Ahmed were turned down by the workers.

Dr. Akorede noted that the local government arrears were caused by the huge drop in the Federal allocation from two point seven billion naira to one billion naira monthly.

He said salaries of basic education teachers alone is one point two billion naira monthly, while the administration had helped them by augmenting allocation and approving bank loans in the past.

Dr. Akorede stated that banks are no longer willing to lend money for salaries while the state government which also suffered a forty percent drop in its monthly allocation could not afford to augment local government allocation from its meagre resources which barely cover state workers and pensioners.

The Governor’s aide advised the workers to be patient and make do with their allocation as it is a national problem while government strives to increase Internally Generated Revenue and block leakages through the ongoing workers verification.

Dr. Akorede added that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed is open to dialogue in an orderly manner, promising that the Governor would talk to the officials of NULGE anytime they intend to do so.