President Muhammadu Buhari has charged state governors to ensure that they pay all the salaries owed workers before Christmas, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
President Buhari gave the charge on Monday when he met with the governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Many states are owing workers several months of salaries of salaries and allowances.
It will be recalled that the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in June 2017 raised the alarm that 23 states of the federation owed local government workers’ arrears of salary ranging from one to 16 months.
Ibrahim Khaleel, National President of the union, stated in a statement that Bayelsa state was leading in indebtedness to local council workers with between 10 to 16 months, followed by Kogi owing between seven to 15 months; Delta State eight to 14 months.
“Kaduna 12 months; Oyo three to 11 months; Edo 10 months; Abia five to nine months; Kwara two to nine months; Benue nine months and Nasarawa seven months.
“Ondo, Ekiti, Imo with six months; Zamfara have not implementing minimum wage, Adamawa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Plateau owing four months, Taraba and FCT three months.
“While Osun state has been paying half salaries for 24 months and few staff were owed few months in Enugu,” he said.
The union noted that Ekiti has refused to remit union dues for the past nine months and Ogun has not also remitted its deduction for seven months.
The national president also said that 700 staff members were owed between one to three months in Cross River State.
He called on the governors of the states to offset the salaries and other allowances of local government workers with the second tranche of the Paris Loan Refund released to them.
He said that failure to do so, the union would be forced to mobilised and shut down all local government councils in the country.
Khaleel called on the state governors not to divert or tamper with the second tranche of Paris Club Loan refund but use it to offset the entitlement of the workers.
He, however, said the union was aware that some state governors were already claiming that the amount released was not in conformity with the published figure.
“We want to state in strong term that no governor should either divert or tamper with the fund.
“This should be an avenue where the backlog of arrears of salaries owed the Local Government workers and some other welfare packages should be settled.
“Such as leave bonus, arrears of promotion benefits, arrears of annual increment and non-implementation of minimum wage most especially in Zamfara State are resolved and paid.
“We, therefore, use this medium to appeal passionately to the State Governors to use this 2nd Tranche of Paris club loan refund to clear the backlog arrears of outstanding salaries.
“This is in order to ameliorate the untold hardship they are currently passing through due to this ugly situation,” he said.
He added that the union will not tolerate a situation where any state governor will hide under any guise to deny Local Government workers their legitimate salaries and allowances.
Khaleel commended the 14 states including Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Cross River, Niger and Anambra that were up to date in the entitlement of local government workers.