Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has described as unfortunate the strike embarked upon by the state civil servants, insisting that the action was inimical to the development of the state.
The governor at an enlarged state executive council meeting in Minna yesterday said the new salary regime was not unilaterally arrived at but “was carefully reached after wide consultations with all stakeholders and in the interest of the state”.
He accused the labour of being unnecessarily rigid, as government has shifted ground with to 90 percent salary in July as against the 70 percent that was paid last month.
He also dispelled allegation that government action only singled out the civil servants to bear the effect of the on-going economic challenges in the state. The governor insisted that the 70/30 percent ration adopted by his administration was to ensure even spread of both the gains and risks of the present financial realities.
Gov. Sani Bello recalled he had a five-hour meeting with the labour till the early hours of Monday morning in order to forestall the strike but lamented that labour refused to accept government gesture at the meeting.
He said presented details of the incomes of the state and the on-going developmental projects at the meeting with labour. This he said was to enable the organised labour understand the efforts of the government but regretted that they still resorted to their action.
“I had a meeting with the labour and I gave details of our incomes, the on-going developmental projects and why we have to sacrifice today for the future of our children, who are leaders tomorrow but from the action of the workers it is clear that they are only interested in their salary alone.
“They are not bordered about the state of our schools, all the labour wants is for us to use all we have for their salaries. I told them that we have to attend to the critical areas as highlighted in our cardinal priority programmes. That is why we are fixing our schools in Izom, Bida, at Maryam Babangida Girls, Bosso, Kutigi, Kontagora and Rijau. The work in these schools are there for all to see.
“I have made it categorically clear that the 70/30 percent ration is not a policy. It is a temporary arrangement. If tomorrow our FAAC is increases, workers take home will also increase.
“I have no intention to punish anybody. If I have a revenue of N5 billion, I will gladly pay the N2.4 billion wage bill and I still have what to work with. Of what gain is it to me to deny workers their pay?” the governor asked.
On looted funds by some former political office holders, the governor said, investigations are on-going and assured the entire populace that government would ensure recovery of the state’s commonwealth.
The governor who said he was open to discussion on how to resolved the on-going em-passe, called on well meaning Nigerlites to prevail on labour stressing that government action was in the interest of all.
He acknowledged the statesmanship support and efforts of Engineer Abdulkadir Abdullahi Kure, a former governor in the state, Alhaji Abubakar Mogaji and other stakeholder at ensuring peaceful resolution of the industrial action by labour.
The governor assured the people that his administration will continue to be transparent and accountable adding that he was committed to restore the glory of the state.
Jibrin Baba Ndace
Chief Press Secretary