Edo, NULGE bicker over misuse of funds’ allegations



AS the ongoing strike continues over pay arrears, the Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has accused council chairmen of misapplication of funds.

It also accused the council henchmen of effecting payments to contractors and granting running costs whereas its members are still being owed government.

Only three of the state’s 18 local councils, namely Owan East, Etsako East and Ovia North -East of the 18 local government councils are not owing, while others have their indebtedness run from one to eight months.

Meanwhile, NULGE has been staging protests every Tuesday and Thursday in the three senatorial districts of the state to press home its demand of having the salary arrears.

But in a swift reaction, the Commissioner, Special Duties, Labour and Establishment, Comrade Didi Adodo, defended the affected councils, saying their inability to meet their financial obligations to workers arose from lean allocation, dwindling Internally Generated Revenue (IGR?) and prioritisation of needs.

State chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, in a chat with journalists, called on Governor Adams Oshiomhole to sack all the chairmen who had failed to pay workers’ salaries, alleging that they preferred to pay contractors where they get “kickbacks” and security allowances, leaving out the issue of staff salaries.

“We have also advised those councils who preferred to pay contractors and paying themselves security allowances to stop and gather the monies and pay workers. Based on that, we going on a sympathy strike as well if by two week they have not paid the workers.

“If Edo State government, under Adams Oshiomhole, is extravagant, I don’t think he can pay salaries. Edo is at the bottom of the ladder in terms of allocation among the states. These local governments must have priorities, these people are not prudent. They pay contractors so that they can get kickbacks from them and collect security allowance. They should have priority of paying workers. I want a situation where any council chairman that misuses his fund should be removed, they are just extravagant.

“The entire circumstances leading to the non- payment of NULGE salaries, ranging from one to eight months, are unacceptable,” the NLC chief stated.

Efforts to reach the state chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Mrs. Itohan Osahon-Ogbeide, for comments were unsuccessful as she did not take her calls and was also said to be unavailable by her security guard when The Guardian visited her GRA residence in Benin.

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