The Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, on Tuesday urged other state governors to make payment of salaries and pensions as first line charge before any expenditure to entrench trust in the system.
The governor made this remark at the official commissioning of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) House in Abuja.
A Budgit nationwide survey in 2017 showed that more than 20 states are owing workers and pensioners salaries and entitlements ranging from one to 36 months.
Mr. Gaidam said there was no reason any governor should not pay salaries and pension.
According to him, Yobe has been able to live up to its responsibilities, in spite of the security challenges posed by Boko Haram insurgents.
“We have made it a deliberate policy to pay salaries and pensions as the first line charge before any expenditure, while many states have backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities,” Mr. Gaidam said.
He disclosed that Yobe is one of the few states which have consistently paid salaries of staff without resort to the bailout of funds from the federal government.
“We have also made it a deliberate policy that all civil servants in the state start receiving payment of pensions one month after retirement.
“We have equally set-up a Committee to verify gratuities of staff in the state and have cleared backlog of gratuities of civil servants who retired from Services from 2014 to July 2017 the sum of about N4.7 billion, covering 2,543 beneficiaries,” he said.
The governor urged other state governments and other employers of labour to emulate the gesture so that the transition of civil servants from benefiting in payment of salaries to pensions will be a smooth and hitch free process.
The process should be devoid of unnecessary delays that tend to frustrate pensioners in spite of their selfless service to the nation.
Also, the national president of NUP, Abel Afolyan, appealed for more support to enable the union carry out more capital projects.
“We want to have a medical centre, where we would be taking care of our aged members.
“We also intend to establish the pensioners’ radio and television station where we can reach out to our members easily and also use it as a tool of advocacy for our interests.
“We can only plead for more support from you in order for us to achieve them one after the one,’’ he said.
He described the governor as the number one friendly governor that understood the plight of pensioners, who is willing to do all he can to ensure their happiness.
Mr. Afolayan sympathised with the governor over the February 19 abduction of 110 girls in Government Girls Science and Tech School, Dapchi.
Mr. Afolayan prayed for the quick and safe return of the girls.