Abuja- As workers observe the 2015 May Day (International Labor Day), some of them have urged the government to be workers-friendly by paying salaries as at and when due even as an incoming governor has extolled the contribution of workers to nation building.
Osun Civil servants on Friday in Osogbo appealed to the state government to settle their six months’ salary arrears.
Some of the workers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the occasion of the May Day celebration, said the non-payment of workers’ salaries in the last six months was making life difficult for them.
NAN reports that workers in the state are being owed six months salary arrears,with the state government attributing the situation to dwindling allocation from the Federation Account.
Mrs Temitope Alonge, a civil servant, pleaded with Gov. Rauf Aregbesola, to have mercy on the workers by settling their salary arrears.
Alonge told NAN that she and her husband, both civil servants, were living like a ‘beggars’ to survive.
“Myself and my husband are civil servants and for the past six months we have not been collecting salary.
“We find it difficult to feed, to pay house rent and even to pay our children’s school fees. We appeal to the government to have mercy on us.”
Another civil servant, Mr Opeyemi Akolade, said life had become unbearable for him due to the non-payment of his salary by the government.
“I don’t have any other business I am doing except my wages from the government.
“I have borrowed everywhere to sustain my family with no where to borrow again.
“Government should please do something urgently to ameliorate our suffering, “ Akolade pleaded.
Also speaking, Mr Lawrence Ibirogba, a public school teacher, said it was sad that government could take workers for granted by denying them their pay.
Ibirogba, who noted that the workers’ monthly salary was their means of survival, wondered why government could not take part of the dwindling allocation to settle part of the salary arrears.
“We all know that the allocation from Federal Government to Osun and all other states is declining every month but that is not enough excuse for government not to pay part of what it is owing us.
“It is sad and pathetic that the government can neglect us to this level despite our massive support during the Aug. 9 governorship election.”
Mrs Yetunde Alao, another civil servant, said it was pathetic that workers in the state could be denied their means of livelihood.
Alao appealed to the government to find urgent solution to the delay in the payment of workers’ salary arrears.
She also urged the government to stop threatening workers with sack, asking “Where did government want us to get money to go to work when we are not being paid in the last six months?
“Government should focus on how to settle our wages rather than threatening us. We are ready and willing to work. All what we need is our entitlements,” she said.
In Makurdi, the Benue Governor-elect, Dr Samuel Ortom, has commended workers for their resilience in the face of enormous challenges which include the non-payment of their wages and other entitlements.
The commendation was contained in a statement signed by his Media Director, Mr Tahav Agerzua, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi on Friday.
The statement said Ortom expressed regret that Workers ‘ Day, previously celebrated with fanfare and colourful displays when the going was good, had turned into a day of mixed feelings.
It further said that the governor-elect assured the workers that the government would partner with workers in the public service and organised private sector, to restore the lost glory of workers.
According to the statement, the incoming administration will confront the current challenges of workers in the state frontally and solicited their support to surmount the problems.
It urged all workers in the state to look into the future with hope, faith and confidence.
In Awka, Mr Ifeanyi Ofordile, the re-elected Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Anambra wing, has promised to negotiate with the government and relevant stakeholders to ensure that teachers received good remuneration.
Ofordile stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka.
“I will liaise with the government to ensure proper funding of the capacity building programmes while making sure that no teacher is left out from participating in the available programmes.”
Ofordile also promised to make diligence his watch-word in the appointment of headmasters and principals of schools while emphasising his adherence to hierarchy of seniority in service.
“It is important to appoint well mannered individuals to head schools; I am going to ensure that appointments of headmasters and principals of schools will be based on merit and conform with accepted norms.
“It is wrong for a junior officer to head his or her senior in the profession.
“I will not allow this to happen so that acrimony will be eradicated from the school system.”
Ofordile scored 298 votes to defeat Mr Chris Udealor who received 289 votes while Mr Celestine Nwora was elected Deputy Chairman with 294 votes to defeat Mrs Eucharia Ibeji who polled 284 votes.
Mrs Joy Nwankwo was elected Treasurer with 290 votes as against Mr Alphonsus Azike’s 287 votes.
NAN recalls that at the election took place at the teachers’ 7th Quandrennial) state delegates conference in Awka under the supervision of Mr Mamodu Braimoh, the Lagos State NUT Secretary. (NAN)