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NUT urges Niger govt. to allocate special grants to urban LGs



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The Niger state wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has called on the state government to allocate special grants to urban local government councils in the state, to enable them to meet their financial obligations to their workers and embark on some meaningful development.
Mr. Labaran Garba, Principal Assistant Secretary of the union in the state, gave the advice on Monday, in Minna, while reacting to the inability of some local government councils to pay the salaries of their workers, as a result of the implementation of partial financial autonomy granted the 25 councils in the state by the government.
“As a result of the implementation of the partial financial autonomy in the state, only 10 out of the 25 local government councils have been paying their staff their monthly emoluments as at when due.
“The situation has led to staff in two local government areas embarking on sit-at-home action when their employees can only pay their salaries by slashing it (payment in percentages).
Garba said that the measure would solve the current problem of salary payment faced by some of the councils.
The NUT official, who named some of the urban local governments in the state to include, Chanchaga, Bida, Suleja, Kontagora, Agaie, and Lapai, noted that these councils were overpopulated with workers, resulting in their inability to meet their wage bills.
“Some civil servants serving in the state capital often ensured their wives, children, and other relations are employed in these urban local governments, which has swelled the workforce in the councils and affected the wage bills negatively,” he said.
He advised the state government to stop the practice in the interest of the local government workers, especially teachers.
“Top civil servants should retain their relations in their local government areas of origin,” he said.
Garba suggested that the practice of replacement of dead workers or those that retired should be stopped, saying that the regular procedure for recruitment of workers should always be adopted to stop the ghost worker syndrome.
“The state government should also stop inter-local government transfer of workers, especially from rural local governments to urban ones,” he said.
Garba decried the delay in the payment of teachers’ salaries by some local government councils in the state, saying that teachers were important in every society, and for industrial peace, payment of primary school teachers’ salaries should be made a first-line charge.
The National Daily reports that the NUT was in full support of the sit-at-home action embarked upon by workers in Paikoro and Chanchaga, two of the worst-hit of the 25 local governments in the state.
Similarly, Mr Akayago Mohammed, the state Chairman, NUT, told newsmen that the action of the protesting local government workers was a joint action by all workers of the NUT National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), and non academic staff in the state, who were victims of circumstances which made the councils not to pay full salaries.
“There is no clause for percentage payment of salaries in the agreement with our members, all we are saying is that government should pay us what is agreed upon in the employment letters of our members,” he said.