Group demands release of outstanding salaries in Bayelsa

A group under the auspices of Concerned Local Government Recent Retirees and Cleared Staff of the Reviewed Verification Exercise by the


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Group demands release of outstanding salaries in Bayelsa
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson

group A group under the auspices of Concerned Local Government Recent Retirees and Cleared Staff of the Reviewed Verification Exercise by the Local Government Service Commission has passionately appealed to the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT and the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, MHWUN to redouble efforts to ensure that their January and February, 2018 salaries are released without further delay.

 

According to the group, salaries were withheld by the Ministry of Local Government Administration because they were recommended for retirement by the verification committees, but prayed the aforementioned unions to act quickly, saying that responses from Local Government branch officials of the unions indicate that their salaries may go down the drain, despite the fact that the money were alleged to have been paid into unpaid salary account in the Ministry of Local Government in the State.

In a statement signed by its leader, Mr. Ebikimiete Ayaowei in Yenagoa, following due process, some member of the group have been cleared, while others have finally been retired with effect from the end of February, 2018, since their salaries were alleged to have been reserved in an unpaid salary account in the Ministry of Local Government for January and February, it is imperative that the money be released to the councils so that they can be paid.

The group warned that they may come in their numbers to protest to the Ministry of Local Government if their salaries are not released soonest and if any attempt to embezzle their January and February, 2018 salaries will attract petition to the EFCC and ICPC.

The concerned workers, who said they are even angry with the way and manner they were forcefully retired by the Local Government Service Commission, also called on all well-meaning Bayelsans to intervene urgently, saying that, adding salt to the injury by the delayed release of their two months salaries is inhuman and that the Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Pastor Agatha Goma, should handle the issue carefully.

In a similar development, grassroots based public monitoring group known as ‘Grassroots Transparency Initiative’, has called on Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to graciously extend the Restoration Government's anti-corruption searchlight to the proceedings and strict implementation of the resolutions of the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee, JAAC of the State.

According to the group, JAAC is a constitutional body empowered to allocate the funds from the monthly federation account to the eight Local Government Councils of Bayelsa State according to the figures after removing statutory and government approved deductions.

The Grassroots Transparency Initiative, in a statement by its Executive Director, Ebiegberi Tomubulou, stated that investigations have revealed that suspected corruption is taking place in the JAAC to the extent that the appropriate allocations do not get to the eight Local Government Councils according to the approved templates issued at the end of the monthly JAAC meetings.

The group insist that the Ministry of Local Government Administration should be made to give account of these fabulous under-remittances which have translated to the impoverishment of the rural people by depriving them of their resources, alleging that there is an incredibly wide gap between the allocations received from the monthly Federation Account Committee meetings and the actual amount that finally get to the councils running into hundreds of millions in some councils.

It also challenged the Ministry of Local Government Administration to immediately key into the monthly Transparency Briefing Policy of the Restoration Government by telling Bayelsans how much each of the eight councils got from the Federation Account and how much was remitted to them for the past two years which is the minimum expectation of citizens.

The Grassroots Transparency Initiative further called for total remittances of the net allocations to all the councils according to JAAC resolutions, warning that withholding hundreds of millions of Naira in the Ministry of Local Government Administration, whereas the councils have enormous developmental challenges is not only suspicious, but a potential ground for corruption.

The group further explained that it is illegal for the Ministry of Local Government Administration to withhold funds belonging to Local Government Areas, just as it is illegal for the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to withhold parts of States' allocations after monthly FAAC meeting.


Benaebi Oyinbrakemi Destiny
Bayelsa State Correspondent
Read other stories by Benaebi Oyinbrakemi Destiny
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