Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has excused the state government for the failure of local government authorities to pay their workers, explaining that he meets the monthly wage obligation to the state workers and that Local Government workers must be paid by their respective local governments and not by the state government.
The governor who spoke when he received the leadership of the National Union of Local Government Workers (NULGE), led by its National President, Khaleel Ibrahim, said: “I want to say it clearly that Edo State Government does not have the responsibility of paying the salaries of Local governments. I am not, and I will not collect taxes from people to pay local government workers. I don’t know what they do in other states, but in Edo State, we respect the full autonomy of local governments and this autonomy goes with responsibility. I challenge your union leaders to show any evidence to the contrary.
He explained under the previous administration, the revenue of Local Governments was being spent on their behalf by the state government where they even bought second-hand tractors at an inflated price and distributed to local governments and deducted the money from council funds, without any eye brow or voices raised
Oshiomhole also pointed out that just last week, the traditional rulers in Esanland said the best the then government did for them was to give them a loan of N500,000 to buy cars at that time which they deducted from local governments, and the union leaders did not raise a voice.
According to him, “What have I done since I came in? First I discovered that during the tenure of my predecessors, local governments in Edo State had a tradition of collecting a percentage of their money and paying to the previous government before they got their allocation, I said no, this government will not touch Local Government money. That local government money will be managed by LG for the benefit of the people in your localities. So I challenge your union to prove anything to the contrary. I have not done any
procurement for local governments; I have not done employment for local government, I have sat down to make any transfers for local governments, I have not in any way interfered in the funds of local governments. Therefore, if local governments cannot manage their money they only have themselves to blame.”
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