Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has directed local government chairmen in the state to pay June and July salaries owed their workers before August 9.
Mr Sule gave the directive on Wednesday during a meeting with the 13 local governments’ chairmen at the Government House in Lafia, the state capital.
According to him, the measure will enable staff of the councils to celebrate the forthcoming Eid-el-Kabir with ease and comfort.
The governor, who decried the hardship being experienced by the local government workers, said the issue was of great concern to his administration.
He said the delay in the payment of salaries and pension to local government workers was counter-productive and debased the morale of the workers.
Mr Sule warned that his administration would not fold its arms and watch men and women, who are sacrificing their time and energy to sustain the existence of the state, to suffer.
The governor added that salaries and pensions should be paid to the deserving workers and retirees, urging the councils to ensure that salaries and pensions were paid regularly.
The governor decried inability of nine out of the 13 local government councils in the state to pay workers’ salaries in spite of the implementation of Local Governments autonomy in the state.
He said he was one of the first governors to implement the directive by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on direct allocation to the local government areas.
“I deliberately refused to be part of the allocation but after the sharing formula was done, nine local government chairmen ran to me, seeking permission to use funds meant for capital projects to be able to pay salaries.
Mr Sule, who apologised to the staff of the nine councils over non-payment of their salaries, called on the electorate to elect educated and competent people who could effectively handle the finances of their councils.
Earlier, the Chairman of Lafia Local Government, Aminu Maifata, commended the governor for the encouragement given to local governments through his people-oriented policy, prudent management of resources and accountability.
Mr Maifata, also the state ALGON Chairman, said local councils in the state were currently verifying the authenticity of workers.
“Ghost workers were discovered in the payroll of the 13 local government areas in the state during a recent verification.
“The verification was necessitated by the inability of nine local governments of Akwanga, Nassarawa-Eggon, Kokona, Karu, Doma, Obi, Toto, Nasarawa and Lafia, to pay June salaries in spite of receiving allocation directly from the federal government.
“It was also discovered that some unpatriotic staff connived and slotted into the payroll, unapproved promotion lists, thereby increasing the wage bills of the affected local governments.
“Through the verification, it was discovered that N60 million was being diverted by the syndicates responsible for the abnormalities monthly,’’ he said.
He attributed the menace of ghost workers and other illegal activities by some unpatriotic staff to the recent delay in the payment of June salaries of local government staff.
Mr Maifata gave the assurance that measures were being put in place to fish out the perpetrators in order to clean up the system for better service to the people.
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