Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule yesterday lamented the huge volume of gratuities and pensions that his administration inherited.
Sule, also, said the state government could not pay gratuities of retired civil servants in the state until garnishee orders placed on accounts of the state were removed.
The governor expressed concern about the order at a session with the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in his country home, Gudi, Akwanaga Local Government Area (LGA), Nasarawa.
Counsel to a group of pensioners in the state had obtained a judgement against the state government, which ordered for the garnishing of all accounts for pensions operated by the state government.
At the session with journalists, Sule said the gratuities the pensioners were fighting for could not be paid until the garnishee order was removed from the state’s gratuities and pensions accounts.
Sule, however, explained that the state government was able to pay salaries of civil servants for the month of July despite the garnishing of such accounts after he called Lagos, headquarters of those banks.
“When the accounts were garnished, I had to call Lagos, the headquarters of these banks so that we will be able to meet the state’s salary obligations.
“So, we have been able to pay salaries. But we have not been able to pay pensioners because the approval I got from Lagos was only enough to pay salaries.”
Sule, however, assured the pensioners that the state government had made provision for the pensioners to be paid between Monday and Tuesday of this week.
He said: “One thing that is very worrisome is that the number of garnishee orders against Nasarawa State is enormous. This is unfortunate. The reason is that the state does not have enough resources to meet these obligations.”
He explained that his administration inherited close to four or five garnish orders on arrival as governor, saying since the era of military administrations, the state has not been saving for gratuity. So gratuities have been accumulating and not paid.
He said: “As a result, there is a huge accumulation of gratuities and pensions. What the previous administration of Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura did was to set aside a certain amount of money to pay gratuities for the state.”
According to him, local governments did not have enough to eat, talk less of paying gratuities.