By Marymagdalyn Francis
Kogi State civil servants in Lokoja, are overjoyed to receive backlog of salaries, as much as up to one year, four days to Christmas.
The civil servants on Wednesday crowded commercial banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATM) for cash withdrawals; at the peak of recession, the state government kept to its promise to clear the backlog of all salaries of the genuine workers and state pensioners by December, 20.
In a report, some civil servants seen within Lokoja metropolis, waiting patiently with excitement for their turn to get cash withdrawals, told NAN that indeed, the governor did not backtrack on his promise to pay after the rigorous screening exercise to fish out ghost salary earners.
A worker at the Ministry of Information, Mr Al-Hassan Jimoh, said he was very happy that he got 9 months’ salary alert on Tuesday.
He said: “In spite of all the hardships, I believed in Gov. Bello because I was convinced that he was doing the right thing.”
A Level 12 officer, at the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Monday Eleshin, said he received alert for 10 months’ salary backlogs on Tuesday.
“This government has really tried through the screening because some people were collecting up to 30 persons salaries which is what they are investigating. I am grateful to our governor,” Eleshin said.
Another worker, Mrs Kemi Dada, a Sanitation Board official, said though the screening was painful for a while, it has finally yielded positive results.
“We thank Gov. Yahaya Bello for his commitment to making good his promises by paying all genuine workers in the state; my salary has been paid up to December,” Dada said.
However, it is not good news for all as some workers are yet to receive alerts, signalling their payments.
In the report, some local government workers and pensioners in the state told NAN that they were yet to receive any payment alert.
Munirat Oju, a worker at Lokoja Local Government, said she had not been paid since February even when her name had been cleared during the screening since August.
She urged the state government to prevail on the local government administrators to clear the salary backlog of all the genuine workers at
the local government level.
A pensioner, Mr Usman Jimoh, said he had not been paid for 12 months in spite of his clearance during the screening and verification.
Jimoh, who is a retired Permanent Secretary, said he retired in active service as required by law in July 2016, after 35 years of active service but had never, received any pension till date.
“The government is owing me 12 months salary backlog; Seven months salary in active service from Jan. to July and 5 months pensions from Aug. to Dec. 2016. I have been living by people’s help.
“Though the government is doing a good job to clear the mess in the civil service, a lot of people have suffered unnecessarily in this case.
“If you are looking for ghost workers, I do not think the permanent secretaries should be the target; it is unfair, we are suffering unnecessarily,” Jimoh said.
Isaac Adeleye, another pensioner, said the last pension he received was in February 2016 in spite of being screened thrice.
“I do not think any genuine civil servant and pensioner should be deprived of their entitlement because it is our sweat,” Adeleye said.