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Edo State Government Not Responsible For LG Staff Wages – Oshiomhole

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By Ayo Balogun


EDO, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Edo State Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has said the state government is not responsible for the failure of local government authorities to pay their workers, explaining that he meets the monthly wage obligation to the state workers.


He explained that the Local Government workers must be paid by their respective councils.


Speaking when he received the National leadership of the National Union of Local Government Workers ( NULGE), led by its National President, Khaleel Ibrahim, Oshiomhole said:  “I want to say it clearly that Edo State Government does not have the responsibility of paying the salaries of Local governments.


“I am not, and I will not collect taxes from people to pay Local Government workers. I don’t know what they do in other States, but in Edo State, we respect the full autonomy of Local Governments and this autonomy goes with responsibility. I challenge your union leaders to show any evidence to the contrary.


“Under the previous administration, the revenue of local governments was being spent on their behalf by the state government. They even bought second-hand tractors at an inflated price and distributed to local governments and deducted the money from local government funds, which is what the PDP was doing. The union in Edo State did not raise a voice.”


According to the Governor, “Just last week, the traditional rulers in Esanland said the best the then government did for them was to give them a loan of N500,000 to buy cars at that time and they deducted the money from Local Governments, the union leaders did not raise a voice.


“What have I done since I came in? First I discovered that during the tenure of my predecessors, local governments in Edo State had a tradition of collecting a percentage of their money and paying to the previous government before they got their allocation, I said no, this government will not touch local government money, local government money will be managed by LG for the benefit of the people in your localities.


“So, I challenge your union to prove anything to the contrary. I have not done any procurement for local governments; I have not done employment for local government, I have sat down to make any transfers for local governments, I have not in any way interfered in the funds of local governments. Therefore, if local governments cannot manage their money they only have themselves to blame.”


“I speak with every sense of responsibility and I challenge NULGE, Edo State to prove to the contrary. When they had this kind of situation in 2010 or 2011, when the tenure of the local governments expired, they asked their own fellow members who are Heads of Service-and next time you don’t call a meeting like this without inviting those responsible for managing the local government, I am not going to take panadol for another man’s headache-on that occasion we appointed Heads of Personnel in the respective local governments, not appointed by us, we met them on the job, and we asked them to manage those local governments instead of appointing politicians.


“And I stopped them from awarding any contract, I stopped them paying any money, I even stopped them from paying the police, traditional rulers and so on. Mr. President, I am proud to say that we saved over N6 billion for the LGs because I directed the Heads of Personnel not to spend the money, and as a result, the arrears of salaries that were being owed the LGs were paid in full,” he added.


Oshiomole said the last LG chairmen whose tenure expired over two months ago inherited over N6 billion, saying that he did not know any state government that would save money for LGs.


“As we speak today, the amount that is allocated to each local government is stated right from Abuja. It is not repartitioned in Edo State. I insist that no matter the situation, Local Governments must at least perform one of their most basic responsibilities, namely the payment of teachers’ salaries,” he said, adding that “everybody must put on his thinking cap, there is no more free money to distribute.”


“I read in a communique in which they accused me of saying Edo State workers were being paid, correct. Edo State Government workers are paid. Local Government workers are not Edo State Government workers, they are Local Government workers. Once I don’t touch your money, you cannot hold me responsible for your woes. You are there as union leaders you see your money being diverted. So you have a responsibility to watch and ensure that the money of local governments is managed judiciously for the benefit of the councils,” he said.


The NULGE National President said they were in the State because of their members in Edo State.


“The national leadership is sincerely not very happy and we find it very difficult to remain in Abuja while our members do not get their salaries some up to 18 months.


“We could not stay back because we feel that we are part of this government and being part of this government, we equally find it very shameful to leave the situation of Edo while we are battling other issues in other States. So we decided that we must come to join the State leadership who are already on ground protesting non-payment of salaries. Our members are angry, our members are hungry and you know a hungry man is an angry man.


“The truth of the matter is that we are here to support the unpaid, hungry local government workers of Edo state and we know that something is going to be done about it,” Comrade Ibrahim stated.

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