An Appeal To Gov. Yahaya Bello Not To Pay Less Than 50% To Local Government Workers In Kogi State.

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Coronavrus is not just a matter of life and death as eloquent put by the President, Muhammadu Buhari in his recent broadcast to Nigerians on the pandemic disease but also the greatest challenge confronting the social and economic life of the global community, including Nigeria.

The current lockdown initiated by all the state governments , apart from its social truma is of no mean effect on the economic life of Nigerians, especially the civil servants with limited source of livelihood.

Workers in Kogi state are no exception to this socioeconomic dilemma COVID-19 has thrown everybody into, especially in terms of eking a living.

Before the coming of the deadly disease, local government workers in kogi state have been receiving salary in percentage, a development they stomach with pain and endurance, hoping that the era of the payment of their full salary would return, especially in the second coming of Givernor Yahaya Bello.

Therefore, with harsh economic reality accompanying the Coronavrus induced lockdown in the country, the time to make a strong appeal to the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello not to pay less than the 50% salary to local government workers becomes imperative.

This appeal stems from ongoing negotiation by government officials and the local union.

Invariably therefore, it is no longer news that Nigerians, with people of Kogi State inclusive are currently experiencing the worst economic hardship owing to the covid 19 scourge that has ravaged the world.

Empirical evidence indicates that due to the pandemic, Nigerians have been forced to stay at home, thus reducing their earning power, with more mouths to feed, as most families are now together. More worrisome is the high cost of goods and services, owing to the restrictions following the lockdown.

That making ends meet for most families in Kogi State is now a difficult task is an understatement. It therefore calls to question the rumoured plan by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs contemplating paying less than the 50% to local government workers.

That the workers agreed to accept 50% before now was a necessary sacrifice that was needed to be made which coincidentally and unfortunately would negate the promise of Gov. Yahaya Bello, who said rather than pay less, he was going work toward its improvement.

Many people are aware that four days to the November 16 election in Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, met with the leadership of the various trade unions, where he emphatically promised local government workers not to retrench them if he is reelected.

He also promised to improve on the 50% salary workers in the third tier of government were receiving in Kogi State if elected. It is a known fact that the workers kept to their promise and voted handsomely for the governor’s return.

The current negotiation that is between the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs officials with the various leadership of the union at the 21 LGA seeking their understanding to accept less than 50% as salaries, no doubt, calls for this appeal and for the intervention of Gov. Yahaya Bello.

The appeal has become necessary, most especially that it is against Gov. Bello’s earlier promise and the negotiation may also not be with his consent.

It will be recalled that last month, precisely in March when about N550 billion was shared as allocation in February, Kogi workers at the local government level were paid 50%. This development leaves one to wonder why the Ministry is negotiating paying less, now that the sum of N660billion was shared in March for April salary.

The ongoing negotiation with council union at local government level, leaving out the state chapter, the umbrella that earlier negotiated and was begged to accept the 50% as salaries owing to challenge and shortfall, leaves room for suspicion. It also maked many to think that the Ministry has some sinister and ulterior motives.

The current civid 19 pandemic ravaging the world, with devastating economic effects on Nigerians, calls to question the sensitivity of the Ministry’s official to be contemplating paying less than 50% as salaries needs serious thinking and Gov. Bello’s attention. This is more with the current hardship considered unimaginable.

The need to pity and have mercy on council workers, particularly in this period has become very apt. Less we forget, even while most Nigerians are observing the stay at home, it is a fact that health workers in the local government and other workers are still taking risks.
This they do dutifully by rendering services as well as ensuring the monthly immunization exercises in Kogi State.

The people of Kogi State are however calling on Gov. Yahaya Bello to be aware of the current matter and that negotiation is ongoing to pay less than 50% to council workers. Many think he is obviously not aware, even as the people have vowed not to succumb to inhuman policies.

The leadership of the local government council union have also been warned not to mortgage the interest of workers in their local government area. That workers at that level of government have made untold sacrifices, therefore requires that their interest must be paramount. “Enough is enough.”

The time to be sensitive to matters that affect the citizens is now, particularly now that even the blind can see the hardship people are going through, following the covid 19 scourge, the lockdown and restrictions and stay at home.

That Gov. Bello has proven to be darling of local government area workers has never been a matter of argument. It is therefore on this note that his intervention is very critical in this matter of the planned less than50 % as April salaries for Kogi State Local Government Workers.

Muktari Zubairu SalishIs, a Public Affairs Analyst, Writes from Adavi.

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