Lokoja – The Kogi government says it is ready to pay one month out of the three months salary arrears it owes workers in the state.
This, he said, would depend on the organised labour ‘s acceptance of the offer.
Mr Jacob Edih, the Special Adviser on Media and Strategy to Gov. Idris Wada made this known while speaking with newsmen on Friday in Lokoja,
Edih described salary situation in the state and labour’s stance over the matter as “quite regrettable,’’ adding that it was not the wish of government to owe the workers.
He said government had explained the state’s financial position to labour leaders at a meeting on Dec. 31, 2015 that it could only pay one out of the three months salary arrears it owed the workers.
The spokesman added that government’s position was based on available funds in its coffers.
Labour, according to him, left the meeting with a promise that they will get back to government after due consultations.
“The next time we heard from them was at a news conference where they made heinous allegations against the government.
“They are making it look like the money is there and the governor is not paying.
“Nobody is happy with the state of affairs on the issue of non-payment of salaries. This is a man who has been paying salaries, why would he suddenly change now,’’ he queried.
Edih said the allegation that Wada stopped paying workers salaries as a “pay back’’ because the workers made him to lose the governorship election was “uncharitable, preposterous and outlandish’’.
He said it was not fair for labour to reason that way.
The spokesman said government’s doors were still open for dialogue and urged labour to call off their strike to enable the payment of one month salary from available funds.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the organised labour in the state on Tuesday directed workers to continue with the indefinite strike embarked upon since Dec. 23, 2015.
Labour accused government of being unwilling to pay the salary arrears.
Mr Onuh Edoka, Chairman of NLC in the state had said after a meeting between government and labour in December that it was clear that all hope of getting even a month’s salary was dashed.
“Governor Wada claimed that the December, 2015 allocation that came into the state was hijacked by the banks to settle outstanding facilities earlier granted the state.
“He also claimed that no bank is ready to offer him any facilities to augment what is available now.
“For the first time since 1999 when democracy returned to our country, Kogi workers celebrated Christmas in hunger even as the state government collected three consecutive Federal Allocations from October, 2015 without paying any salary”, he said. (NAN)