The Sun News

Unpaid salaries: ALGON defends Bayelsa

• State uncovers bloated work force in Dickson’s LG

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Bayelsa State chapter, has blamed dwindling federal allocation for salaries backlog in the eight local governments in the state.
This was even as the state government said it has been able to save N40 million from checkmating payroll fraud in Ogbia Local Government Area.
Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has been at logger heads with council chairmen over the non-payment of salaries leading to industrial actions in some of the councils, thus, prompting the state government to intervene through the Ministry of Local Government.
ALGON Chairman, Wisdom Fafi, who stated this in Yenagoa, while addressing what he called “deliberate misrepresentation to discredit Bayelsa state government,” said no council in the state is being owed 18 months salaries.
Fafi, who spoke at a briefing also attended by the Yenagoa council chairman, Oforji Oboku, said with the improved allocation from the Federal Government, the councils are determined to clear the backlog of salaries.
“We know that we are having challenges in the payment of salaries. It is also not peculiar to local governments in Bayelsa state alone. I am sure Bayelsa is better than some local government areas in Nigeria. It is pertinent that when some information get to the public, we should make clarifications.”
Meanwhile, the Government Committee on Civil Service Reforms investigating the payroll fraud in the state has uncovered bloated work force in Sagbama Local Government Council, home council of Governor Seriake Dickson.
According to the panel, investigation revealed that about 500 personnel were working as administrative officers in primary schools in Sagbama council.
The panel also said it discovered 5,000 non-academic staff at the Niger Delta University, Amassoma and five other state-owned tertiary institutions in the state.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who stated this in a statement yesterday, said the discovery of the shocking number of administrative officers in the council and the 5,000 non-academic staff was part of the ongoing efforts of Dickson’s administration to clean up the payroll mess in the state.
According to him, the discovery of the 500 administrative officers in one of the councils only showed the large number of redundant workers drawing salaries for doing nothing in the state.
He said the government would make public how the names found their way into the payroll voucher and added that government would not relent in its efforts to solve the problem of the leakages of resources of the state by a few unscrupulous elements in the state.

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