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Gov. Ortom, says he cannot pay workers salaries despite receiving N6.4 billion from Paris club

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Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom has appealed to civil servants who are currently on strike to understand that,  State’s financial constraints have made it difficult for it to meet their demands.

The State’s civil servants embarked on the indefinite strike on Tuesday, after going several months without pay.

The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, have engaged the Ortom administration in a series of negotiations spanning months, but the talks yielded a little result, according to the union officials.

The workers, some of whom were said to have endured up to nine months without pay, accused the governor of breaking his campaign promise to prioritise their welfare, a claim the governor countered.

“We have spoken with them but they have not been fair to me because they’re always carried along about the financial situation of the state and what is shared by the government,” Mr Ortom told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview at his official residence Thursday.

“Even though I want all workers to be paid for their hard work when you don’t have what would you do?” he added.

The governor denied claims that he squandered his state’s share of the Paris Club refund, stating that 80 per cent of the windfall actually went into settling workers’ salaries.

“Eighty per cent was used for workers’ salaries,” he said of the N6.4 billion his state received from the Paris Club reimbursement in July.

Mr. Ortom said he had been grappling with massive debt he inherited from his predecessors, in a state that ranks low in internally-generated revenue.

“I have salary arrears, gratuity and pension liability of over N40 billion,” he said. “So the N6.4 billion is a drop in the ocean.”

He said prior to the industrial action, the state had resolved to pay workers bi-monthly rather than monthly while implementing a minimum wage of N18,000 per month for teachers.

“What we do is we pay one-month full salary every two months. I met a wage bill of N8.2 billion without implementation of teachers’ minimum wage, which I did,” he said.

“My IGR (internally generated revenue) is N250 million on average and I get a little over N3 billion from the federal government.

“We have other challenges like security and (the) government must run,” he added.

The governor said sharp practices in personnel payroll have also contributed adversely to the state’s financial crisis but said new measures were being put in place to expel ghost workers.

“Modified table payments will help us after eliminating ghost workers and we’ll be able to pay workers who are working as and when due.”

Source: ( Premium Times )

National News

Court Revokes Faisal Maina’s Bail For Failure To Attend Trial

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Court Revokes Faisal Maina’s Bail For Failure To Attend Trial

Abdulrasheed Maina son, Faisal

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday ordered the arrested of Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang who revoked Faisal’s bail ordered that his trial would continue in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.

The judge also asked his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear before the court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.

Also Read: Alleged Money Laundering: Court Orders Arrest Of Abdulrasheed Maina

At Failsal’s money-laundering trial resumption on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, told the court that Maina’s son and Hon. Dangaladima both failed to appear in court since June 24, 2020.

Abubakar, therefore, applied the revocation of his bail and his arrest citing section 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The prosecution also applied for the court to order his trial in absentia as provided by 352(4) of ACJA.

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Insecurity: I Don’t See Things Returning To Normal In Northern Nigeria – Omokri

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Insecurity: I Don't See Things Returning To Normal In Northern Nigeria - Omokri

Reno Omokri

Former presidential aide, Reno Omokri has expressed that he is pessimistic about life returning to normal in Northern Nigeria after the Coronavirus pandemic with the increasing insecurity in the nation.

In the past few days, there have been various reports of kidnapping, killing, and attacks by bandits on citizens in the Northern region of the country.

Also Read: Nigerian Army’s account of their involvement in the Lekki Massacre is as straight as Bobrisky’: Omokri

Reacting to the situation, Omokri pointed out that due to the insecurity in the region, he foresees marriages, burials, ceremonies, and even trade being conducted virtually.

He wrote:

“Even after #COVID19, I don’t see things returning to normal in Northern Nigeria. Insecurity is overwhelming. I foresee marriages, burials, ceremonies, and even trade being conducted over zoom. Nobody in Northern Nigeria can safely travel. Absolutely NOBODY.”

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Former Lawmaker, Shehu Sani Defends Gowon Over Allegations Of Looting CBN

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Former Lawmaker, Shehu Sani Defends Gowon Over Allegations Of Looting CBN

Shehu Sani

Former lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani has come out to defend former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) who was recently accused of looting half of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) during his reign.

Sani in a statement via his Twitter account on Tuesday where he defended the former leader, pointed out that Gowon left office without any evidence of wealth.

Also Read: Shehu Sani Hails FG’s Exclusion Of ASUU From IPPIS

He added that the claim against Gowon by a member of the UK Parliament is totally false.

He wrote:

“General Yakubu Gowon; The claim of ‘looting the CBN’ made by the British Minister for Africa as represented by Mr James Duddridge against Gen Gowon is nothing but outright falsehood. Gowon exited power without any evidence of wealth & that remains, for over four decades after power.”

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