Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Borno State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has appealed to the outgoing governor of the state, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, to pay the outstanding N20 billion owed pensioners in the state before vacating office on May 29, 2019.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday in Maiduguri, the Chairman of NLC, Mr. Titus Abana, lamented that both pensioners in the state and local governments are still owed N20 billion in gratuities and pensions.
Abana lamented that the last time gratuity of retirees was paid in the state was in 2013, as all efforts to impress it on the state government to pay workers and pensioners their entitlements on time were turncated and frustrated by some top government officials.
He said: “In spite of the release of a tranche of the Paris Club refund, the state government has not paid the backlog of gratuity and pensions being owed retirees.”
He urged the governor to keep his promise, stressing that: “We met with the governor to push for these payments, he promised to do so before he leaves.
“He said he will not want his predecessor to inherit any burden from his government and promised he will pay all arrears of pension, gratuities accumulated by his government and the past government.”
The labour leader said: “We are reminding him to also pay the backlog of promotion arrears and leave grant of workers which has been pending for more than three years due to the biometric verification.
“No worker has been paid any benefit in the last three years since the verification started.”
He said that the exercise has exposed many workers to untold frustration and hardship.
He decried that: “Many retirees have died due to frustration and hardship.”
Abana further appealed to the governor to allocate the state government’s 1,000 Legacy Housing Estate to the civil servants with a view to cushioning accommodation problems of the workforce and save workers from the threats of landlords.
He said the workers are looking up to better times with the newly elected governor.
He said: “Workers’ expectations from the new administration of Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum is very high. We hope that the new government will carry the civil servants along in all its plans and policies in order to succeed.”