Monday, January 30, 2017

Taraba sacks 8 directors over delay in payment of salaries



The Taraba Government on Monday said it had sacked eight directors over allegation bordering on misconduct, even as workers give strike notice.

Addressing journalists on Monday in Jalingo, Bello Yero and Yakubu Agbaizo, permanent secretary, Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and Executive Secretary, State Primary Education Board, respectively, said the development had caused delay in payment of salaries.

They told journalists that the sacked officials were responsible for the delay in the payment of salaries of some local government workers, teachers and pensioners in the state.

The officials however assured that government had taken measures to correct the situation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Taraba State has a workforce of 16,500.

Workers in the state had issued a warning to the state government that they will embark on strike this Thursday, if their outstanding eight salary arrears were not paid.

They spoke at the maiden edition of “Face the Press’’ programme, an initiative of Emmanuel Bello, Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Darius Ishaku on Public Affairs, to enhance interaction between government and the media.

Mr. Bello alleged that some directors of finance, clerks, cashiers and some officials in the local government councils, colluded with the 16 local government councils to short change junior workers.

“Following some discoveries, government embarked on biometric verification exercise to ascertain the actual number of staff on its payroll.

“Critical stakeholders including the organised labour were contacted and they have endorsed the exercise,’’ Mr. Bello said.

According to him, when the exercise began, some directors of finance, clerks and cashiers who were benefiting from the system, began moves to frustrate the exercise including mobilising some staff to come to the bureau to protest.

“As we speak, many of those cleared by the exercise have been paid, those still complaining are those with BVN issues or different names on their documents which we are working hard to resolve,” he said.

According to Mr. Bello, the government has sacked eight directors so far over the matter while other necessary action will be taken to serve as a deterrent to others.

Also speaking, Mr. Agbaizo accused some education secretaries, directors of finance and other senior officials of the board of short changing primary school teachers in the state.

The secretary explained that over 1,200 teachers were illegally recruited before he assumed office in 2015, leading to an increase in wage bill of the board to over N734 million monthly.

“We are currently doing biometric exercise to ascertain the actual number of teachers.

“Those who were successfully screened and have collected their salaries, we are working hard to sort out those with BVN issues and address them,” he said.

According to him, some of them went as far as establishing ghost schools with ghost teachers in areas with difficult terrains.

Agbaizo expressed confidence that all the abnormalities would be corrected by the time the ongoing biometric exercise was completed.

The workers’ union is also demanding the removal of consultant on ground of gross incompetence in handling salary issues of the state.

NAN also reports that workers in the state had in 2016, embarked on a six week strike over the non-implementation of a new salary structure for workers.
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