Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State (file photo)
By Mohammed Usman
The Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the state government to reverse the poor and irregular payment of salaries and other entitlement to worker or face industrial action.
This is coming less than a month after teachers challenged Niger State government over deductions from their salaries.
While their counterparts from other states, including states that are less financially buoyant than Niger are being paid regularly and as at when due, NULGE in the state said that they could not understand why it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Governor Sani Bello-led administration to pay salaries and as well implement outstanding promotions.
The union in a protest/warning letter signed by its state Secretary, Kolo Maigana, and addressed to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, expressed preparedness to embark on strike if their demands were not met.
Members of the NULGE are among others asking Niger State government to implement the consequential adjustment for Grade level 07, implement all the outstanding promotions and as well the domestic civil servant allowance for Grade level 15 and above.
Niger State generates millions of Naira daily besides monthly allocations from the FAAC yet defaulting in meeting financial obligations to workers, according to the union.
It therefore warned of consequences if its demands were not met within the next two weeks.
“Failure to address these issues on expiration of the given ultimatum, the union will have no option, but to take necessary action. Other demands include the implementation of annual increment for 11 years”.
Apart from the immediate payment of October 2020 salary in full, the union wants a stop to the habitual percentage payment to staff salaries of local government area workers, which has become a norm against civil service rules and obligations.
NULGE, according to the letter copied to the Speaker, Niger State House of Assembly, the Head of Service, the Chairman Local Government Service Commission and other relevant bodies, and made available to journalists said, “enough is enough of the deductions from salaries’’.
Efforts to speak with the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and/or the Secretary to State Government over the issue as at the time of this report proved abortive as their phone numbers continued to indicate, ‘unreachable’.