By Shaibu Stephen Ojate
The Okehi local Government Chairman, Hon. Hassan Yusuf has described
the protest staged by the staff of his council over unpaid salaries as
political motivated and a ploy to paint his administration in bad
limelight to the public.
The Chairman made his position known through his personal assistant,
Mallam Ajinomoh Murtala when our correspondent put a call to him to
know the reasons why workers took to the street. Hassan added that
his administration has been trying its best only that the workers were
not considerate enough to reason with him on the challenges facing his
administration warranting seven month unpaid full salaries.
He noted that the seven month unpaid salaries were not his making as
he inherited it. Explaining further, Chairman said that the staff
salaries was not what it used to be as it has risen to a level that
the current federal allocation could not cater for full payment
The Council boss buttressed that during the administration of Hon.
Puffy, former chairman of Okehi local Government, over 600 people were
employed. These people were employed as Junior Workers then and years
after; some of them have gotten promotion and move to senior cadre.
This has posed serious challenge to my administration in recent time
as more funds were needed for servicing workers salaries. This is why
full salaries payment becomes difficult, he said.
In the same vein, comrade A.I Onumoh the Union Chairman of Okehi local
government workers speaking with our reporter too, has described the
action of the chairman as indirect killing which everyone must condemn
in strong term.
He said it sounds unwise for the council Chairman to consider workers
as not reasonable enough. Seven months unpaid salaries were owed
workers and efforts made over the time for the full payment have not
yielded fruitful result. The workers have no option than to close the
secretariat, he said.
Comdrade Onumoh debunked the claims that 600 workers employed by Hon.
Puffy led to over bloated workers salaries nothing that these people
were sacked by him (council Chairman) last year without reinstatement
till date despite all plea.
He said in the real sense, the council supposed not to run short of
fund for servicing workers’ salaries and wonder why he couldn’t pay.
He buttressed that when the issue of unpaid salaries began to linger,
the stakeholders of the local government had understanding that the
allocation for the month of January should be used to pay full
salaries of workers’ from grade level 1-6 and that of political
officer holders while those from 7 and above gets theirs in February.
The agreement was implemented in January and when February allocation
was received, the Chairman of the council Hon. Hassan Yusuf made
U-turn that he would not go by that decision anymore noting that only
35% of the salaries should be paid to all workers. This was why the
workers went on peaceful demonstration to press for full payment of
workers’ salaries which thereafter brought about the closure of the
council secretariat, he explained.
The union chairman noted that workers in the council have not been
finding it easy as many of them could not pay their children’s school
fees due to seven month unpaid salaries.
He added that supporters of the chairman in the community equally
staged a protest to the secretariat of Okehi Local Government
yesterday to call for its reopening and also to give impression to the
public that the council boss is doing well.
When they came to the secretariat, they forceful open the council
gate, destroyed local government properties, injure staff that came to
check whether the secretariat will be open for work. These Thugs went
away with motor bike they met in the council secretariat, Nulge