Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has been told by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state to pay up the outstanding N20 billion the state owes pensioners before vacating office on May 29, 2019.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Maiduguri, the Chairman of NLC in Borno State, Titus Abana, lamented that both pensioners at the state and local government areas in the state are still owed N20 billion in gratuities and pensions.
Abana decried that the last time gratuity of retirees was paid in the state was in 2013, lamenting that all efforts to impress it on the state government to pay workers and pensioners their entitlements on time were truncated 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 pension being owed retirees.”
The state labour leader urged the governor to keep to his words, stressing that: “We met with the governor to push for these payments, and 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 would pay all arrears of pension and gratuities accumulated by his government and the past government.”
He further said: “We are reminding him to also pay the backlog of promotion arrears and leave grant of workers which have 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.”
Abana said the exercise has exposed many workers to untold frustration and hardship, decrying that “many retirees have died untimely death due to frustration and hardship.”
He further appealed to the governor to allocate the state government 1,000 Legacy Housing Estate to civil servants with a view to cushioning accommodation problems of the state workforce and save workers from the threats of landlords.
The labour leader said the workers are looking up to better times with the newly-elected governor.
He said: “Workers’ expectations from the new administration of Professor Babagana Umara Zulum is very high. We hope that the new government will carry the civil servants along on board in all its plans and policies in order to succeed.”