Osun Workers Search For Periwinkles To Celebrate Christmas, Oyo LG Owe Workers 20 Months Salary.. Tinubu Media Still Defending Buhari's Bad Governance

  Oyo LG owes workers 20 months
·        Frustration as ATMs fail to dispense cash in Jos, others
·        LG workers, retirees groan over unpaid 10-month salaries
·        Nigerians spend hours at filling stations as fuel crisis worsens
·        Commercial drivers hike fares by 200%
 
The yuletide is usually a period associated with merriment and fun memories, when families get together to bond and dance away their sorrows during the holiday. But reverse seems to be the case this period, with tales of woes and lamentations across the federation as workers, retirees, artisans, travelers, unemployed graduates and a host of others groan in hardship under a condition that has left many distressed, even as the fuel scarcity continues to bite harder, leaving commuters to their fate. Investigations by Saturday Telegraph across the states painted a pathetic and helpless situation that has left a lot of people beleaguered while many have become ‘citizens’ in the graveyard.
Osun workers resort to periwinkles, snails
In Osun State, Civil Servants are in a state of frustration, rejection and dejection as their expectation over payment of their October, November and December salaries by the state government have been
dashed. This has resulted in some of them going in search of periwinkles and small snails in nearby bushes to feed their families.
The state government, despite its receipt of over six billion naira as the third tranche of the Paris Club refund, is yet to offset the state workers accumulated salaries and arrears running to hundreds of millions of naira.
As a result of this, majority of them who are expecting their salaries to be paid into their different accounts had submitted to fate as they now wait on God for the celebration of the Christmas festival. Most of them described the government attitude towards their welfare as ungodly, while majority have resulted to the Biblical ‘manna from heaven’, by going into the forest to pick up free foods such as periwinkles and small snails as a means of survival. A worker whose identity is deliberately hidden by Saturday Telegraph lambasted the state government for its nonchalant attitude towards workers plights.
“Even if it is Akamu and Akara, we will use it for the celebration. I have also directed all my children to search for firewood to prepare periwinkles gathered from the bush to celebrate the event. As if the hardship is not enough, residents of the state have also been caught up in the fuel scarcity.
Plateau: Long queues as workers get paid
ATM cash dispensing points and bank halls witnessed long queues in Jos, the Plateau capital, as large number of people troop in to make withdrawals, preparation for Christmas celebration.Saturday Telegraph observed that many ATMs were not dispensing, putting pressure on the few that were doing so.
An anxious customer, John Simon, who was seen waiting for his turn to make withdrawals in the only machine dispensing money, told Saturday Telegraph he is travelling and needed cash. “I am a student of the University of Jos, traveling to Abuja, I want to get money for my transportation, but as you can see for yourself, there is no hope of withdrawal. No official of the bank has told us what is wrong, we are here on a queue, no ATM machine is dispensing cash and we came here since morning”, he said.
However, Saturday Telegraph gathered that civil servants in Plateau State have started receiving their salaries. As a result, ATM points were dotted with long queues as early as 7 am. Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Mark Longyen, said: “I know it will be surprising to many across the country that Plateau State which is not an industrialised state and is not one of the oil producing states which earn derivative funds has gone this far compared to other states with better statutory allocations”.
Abia workers yet to be paid
As at the time of filing this report, workers in Abia State were yet to be paid their December salary as banks in the state were filled up with customers struggling to withdraw before the weekend. The workers now languish in pains and hunger because so many months of salary arrears are yet to be cleared. According to the state Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Uchenna Obigwe, the discussions on the issue of payment of salaries are still ongoing. “We have met today and we have listed those (committee members) to handle the sharing of the Paris Fund. Incidentally, our government said we have N5.7 billion was given to us. Government said that they will use N2 billion to do infrastructure and N3.7 will be for clearing arrears of salaries. “As at today, pensioners are yet to be paid even for a month and this is not fair. ”.
Long queues in Owerri
Owing to the influx of Christmas holidaymakers, banks and ATMs across Imo State seem unable to handle the crowd of customers thronging bank premises for transactions. Some banks on Douglas Road, Owerri were totally crowded with very long ATM queues. The scenario is worsened by the fact that most of the pay points are emptying faster than the banks can restock them.
At a particular bank located at the upper area of Douglas Road, the banking hall is so crowded that air conditioners have become ineffectual. It is a similar situation in the Orji area of Owerri where queues of customers spill over to the road. This is coming as most hotels in the city have had to disconnect their ATMs because of the unusually large crowd loitering hotel premises for withdrawals. Consequently, shopping outlets with Point of Sale (POS) machines are doing brisk business while many customers now resort to money-back deals with shopping outlets.
Delta LG workers groan
Notwithstanding the fact that the Delta State Government paid civil servants their December salaries on the 19th, it was obvious that council workers and retirees across the oil rich state will experience a bleak yuletide. This is because of the unpaid salary arrears and other entitlements of council workers, including primary school teachers, in the past 10 months.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who confirmed during his Quarterly Media Briefing that 21 out of the 25 local government areas are highly indebted to their workers, said apart from Warri North, Warri South, Warri South-West and Burutu council areas, all others are owing to the tune of one year, lamenting that primary school teachers who are under the local government payroll have suffered the worst hit.
The chairman of pensioners’ association in the state, Comrade Ajueshsi Ovwiroro, who said his members “are suffering and smiling” maintained that the state was owing them over N500 million, wondering why all entreaties to reach truce with the governor over their plights have met brick wall.
Agonising celebration in Oyo
To many residents of Oyo State, this Christmas celebration is going to be excruciating because of shortage of funds affecting private business owners and government workers. The state government had just paid the October 2017 salary to civil servants, raising hope of another payment before the year runs out.
Saturday Telegraph’s investigation revealed that the October salary was yesterday paid into workers’ accounts, while expecting the November salary probably before the end of the year.
However, local government workers are still being owed several months, leaving the tale of lamentation on the lips of many. According to the workers’ chairman, Comrade Olusegun Abatan, the government variously owes pensioners. “The local government councils are being variously owed by the different local governments ranging from 5-20 months. Lagelu Local Government is the most debtor local government while Egbeda follows with 18 months.
“The Primary school pensioners who are also being paid by the Ministry of Local Government are being owed between 17 and 56 months of pension, apart from the fact that their gratuities have not been paid since 2008”, Abatan revealed. Aside the political office holders who are believed to be relatively comfortable, even private business owners are witnessing the harsh economic situation worsened by the grueling fuel scarcity.Checks in Oyo State revealed that ATMs were dispensing cash, but some were encountering network problems, thereby making the process to be slow.
Ebonyi pays salary, pension but no withdrawal
Ahead of the Christmas celebration, Ebonyi State Government has paid December salaries of workers, pensions and gratuities of retired civil and public servants, but the people are frustrated as they battle to make withdrawals from ATMs. The government has also paid two years promotion and leave allowances it owed the workers.
The payments were made last week following governor Dave Umahi’s directive. Acting Chairman of the state Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Leonard Nkah, confirmed that the government has paid salaries of the workers, pensions and gratuities of retired civil and public servants in the state. Noting that no worker in the state was owed any month salary, Nkah revealed that in addition to the payment of the salaries, the state government has also given out N10,000 with a bag of rice to each civil servant in the state. Most of the people have however expressed dismay over inability of ATMs to dispense cash.
No 13th month in Niger
Unlike the era of former Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu where workers enjoyed the 13th month salary, reverse is now the case as workers are now made to economically manage their December salary, which was paid on Wednesday. To buttress this fact, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mallam Jibrin Ndace said: “from May 29th 2015 till date, this administration has not owed workers salaries even when it was difficult for other states. “We are consistent, even at the point that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had to give directive that the state has to take overdraft to pay workers salaries.”

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