Nonpayment of salaries by Nigerian Governors is no news. Rather, it’s an unusual way of life we’ve conditioned ourselves to courtesy of those saddled with the responsibility of holding public offices. Salaries are legitimate earnings of civil servants. At the moment, things have gotten so bad in many Nigerian states, payment of salaries has become a major government achievement. Governors bandy around their ability to pay salaries with the gusto they should capital projects like the construction of roads and bridges. When a journalist ask a Governor what has been his achievements after three years in office, the number one answer is “Prompt payment of salaries”.
This is to say the least an aberration as salaries are legitimate earnings. In Kogi state however, payment is being debated as the state of civil servants salaries are unknown going by conflicting details from the civil servants and the state government. According to the state Government, all workers have been paid but labor unions insist the state Government is owing them salaries running into several months.
Findings have shown that what the state Government has done is to divide and rule. About thirty percent of the civil servants are paid their salaries promptly while the rest are ignored. With the thirty percent paid, the state Government will go to town with the news of prompt payment of salaries but nothing actually stops the state government from paying every staff.
A recent investigation by The Cable reveals that the Kogi state Government received a bailout of twenty billion from the federal government. At the same time, they took a domestic debt of sixteen billion Naira only from banks which shows how viable the state is. Things have gotten so bad in the state a series of suicides have occured, the newest one happening last week.
The state government has maintained that it’s not owing anyone but this is far from the truth. The Kogi state Government is advised once again to accede to the demand of its workers by settling all entitlement due to them. No one should be so alienated by their government that they consider suicide.