Taraba State Governor, Arc. Darius Ishaku has reaffirmed his administration’s determination to consistency and regularity in the payment of workers salaries and pensioners monthly emolument.
Governor Ishaku made this declaration at the Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo while marking this year’s Workers Day, which is marked throughout the world on May first, to commemorate Chicago workers who lost their lives while agitating for better wages.
Ishaku ascribed the delay in the payment of worker’s salary in the Local Government as well as teachers in the primary schools to persistent fraudulent practices in the the two sectors and stressed that very soon those sectors would start receiving their salaries like the State Government workers, as their problem is almost completely solved.
He pleaded with pensioners to be patient as effort is being made to start offsetting their backlog of gratuities, explaining that, he inherited huge debts coupled with the ongoing recession in the country. He assured that as the situation improves, he will as a matter of urgency offset their gratuities arrears.
The Governor reiterated his determination to rescue the people of the State from poverty and idleness, to make life easier and governance more accessible as he targets an all encompassing betterment of the state.
Governor Ishaku however asked the workers some pertinent questions bothering on their commitment to work and stressed that, the time had come for them to sincerely reevaluate their behaviour towards work in order to have a vibrant civil service.
Speaking further, Darius Ishaku said he intends to rejik the civil service and directed the State Civil Service Commission to commence the process of interviewing prospective Tarabans that have purchased employment forms so that proper replacement of civil servants would commence with a view to reorganising the State Civil Service.
He revealed that apart from lifting of embargo on employment, approval has also been given for the employment of 3000 teachers in the post primary schools sector. He also explained that the establishment of Greenhouse farm has availed employment for over two hundred people while 335 citizens have been trained in variety of skills with 52 being trained in Abeaukuta, Ogun State.
He commended the Nigeria Labor Congress,NLC, for always engaging the Government constructively and revealed that he prefers consultation rather than confrontation. He also told the workers present that the leadership of the NLC had been up and doing in tabling their welfare and demands.
The people’s Governor decried the idea of selling off Government houses, pointing out that he would rather build more houses for workers preferably on owner occupier bases so that at retirement they would be able to own their personal houses. He described the sale of Government property as another form of corruption.
In his speech as the state number one civil servant, the Head of Service, Mr. Simon Angyu said the present administration has maintained a healthy and cordial relationship with the labour movement in the state. Hence, he beckoned to them to sustain tempo for the progress and development of the State.
Simon Angyu disclosed that since the present administration came on board, it had employed Nurses and Midwives, health workers, reorganised the Nigeria Sunrise Newspaper as well as granted approval for the employment of 3000 teachers in the state post primary schools sector among others.
Earlier in his speech, the state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Peter Gambo said the workers day is a yearly event to remember the Chicago massacre in 1886 and to also engage the Government constructively with a view to better the conditions of workers in the State for productivity.
Peter Gambo maintained that, today’s celebration is victory over long hours of work, victory over police brutality on helpless workers, victory over every force that fashioned itself against the happiness of the working class people in the world.
The NLC chairman enumerated some of the challenges of the Union which included; instability in the payment of Local Government workers and primary schools teachers’ salaries and non implementation circular for Local Government employees.
He demanded for the immediate release of the new minimum wage salary implementation circular as well as annual salary increment and promotions for workers to boost their morale for optimum productivity in the civil service.
Yet another area of concern mentioned by Comrade Peter Gambo was the non payment of pensioners gratuities and poor funding of tertiary institutions in the State. He therefore used the opportunity to appeal to the State Government to examine these issues critically with view of addressing them for the betterment of the citizenry.
On his part, the Trade Union Congress Chairman, Comrade Victor Olatunde, said that the current May Day is being celebrated at a time when the country is passing through series of challenges, particularly, economic recession. He also stated that workers are most affected hence the need for immediate solution to end the economic recession.
Victor Olatunde appealed to civil servants in the State to support the present administration so that it can take the State to the promised land.
In his goodwill message a State frontline unionist and present Chairman of the Local Government Pension Board, Comrade Jonah Kataps told all Government appointees to always see workers as partners in progress and not enemies and to always feed the State Governor with true issues at stake for a better working relationship.
Jonah Kataps however called on civil servants in the state to be committed in the discharge of their duties as a way of reciprocating Government effort urgig them to be punctual at all times.