Nigerian Labour Congress’ Lamentation On Wike’s Excesses, ‘Non-Payment Of Salaries’

Nigerian Labour Congress’ Lamentation On Wike’s Excesses, ‘Non-Payment Of Salaries’

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has berated Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for donating huge sums of money to other states in the country, while withholding salaries and pensions of Rivers’ workers and retirees.

The NLC, who disclosed this via its National President, Ayuba Wabba, stated that the situation had caused workers in the state to move around in black ‘mourning robes’, while children of pensioners protest naked in public.

According to the NLC, findings revealed that Wike, a presidential aspirant of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has donated at least N7.4 billion to seven states across the country since he became governor in 2015.

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“The gale of donations to different causes has not escaped the attention of hungry workers and pensioners in Rivers State who watch as their state adorns the robe of Father Christmas to other states while their salaries and pensions are withheld.”  Wabba, said this in a letter to Governor Wike, dated May 5, 2022.

The NLC also accused Wike of denying eligible civil servants promotion since 2012 till date and also refusing to implement annual salary increment and pension incremental rates in the State.

Mr Wabba said the non-payment of pension arrears, gratuities and death benefits in Rivers State had exposed retirees to unimaginable pains and trauma, saying Wike’s administration had failed to act on the report of a tripartite committee set up to resolve the issues.

The labour union expressed shock that the governor had not paid the terminal benefits of retirees for the past seven years, despite Rivers State being one of the richest states in Nigeria.

Mr Wabba wondered why Wike would donate money to other states in the country when workers in his state were not paid, thereby reminding the governor that “charity begins at home”.

The NLC further hinted that Bayelsa, Benue, Sokoto and Akwa Ibom States top the list of the seven states that had immensely benefited from Wike’s largesse, saying Wike in January 2021 donated N500 million to support the rebuilding of Sokoto Central Market destroyed by fire.

The governor, in February 2018, donated N200 million to the Benue State Government for relief materials and medicine for persons displaced after herdsmen attack.

It can be recalled that in March 2022, the Radio Nigeria reported that Governor Wike donated N400 million to victims of fire disasters at the Katsina Ala and High level main market. This was the second donation to Benue State alone, totaling N600 million.

Furthermore, there was also a report that Wike in April 2022, donated N200 million to victims of a violent attack in Kaduna State.

He also committed N5 billion for infrastructure upgrade at the Yenagoa campus of the Nigerian Law School, Bayelsa State. In February 2022, his government, again, donated N500 million to the Bayelsa State Medical Science University in Yenagoa.

Reports further indicate that the Rivers State had been rewarded with a campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, which is currently under construction.

Governor Wike last year, pledged N600 million to support the building of a teaching hospital in Akwa Ibom State.

However, the Rivers State Commissioner of Information, Paulinus Nsirim, declined comment on the reports when asked to do so by newsmen. His silence insinuated that the allegations of the NLC were accurate and in order.

It’s no longer news that most Nigeria’s politicians, most times act not unlike people that are placed under a certain spell. If these reports, as stated above, are something to go by or hold water, then it implies these men aren’t just heartless but ‘monsters’ in sheep clothing.

No payment of salaries and pensions has become a recurring decimal to the various sitting governors in Nigeria, yet huge amounts of monies is expended, on a daily basis, on mere frivolities by their governments.

Time has really come for the electorate to, at least for once, get it right for their future’s sake.

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