The Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, has appealed to the state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, not to embark on an industrial action.
According to the governor’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Yakubu Jang, the Jang administration is fully committed to meeting the yearnings and aspirations of civil servants in the state.
Jang made the plea while briefing journalists at the New Government House Rayfield, Jos on Tuesday.
There are strong indications that the Plateau NLC will embark on a strike action soon, following the inability of the state government to pay the entitlements of its members as at when due.
The aide, who is also the governor’s son, however, explained that the recent delays in payment of workers’ salaries by the Jang administration were due to a short fall in federal allocation to the state.
He, therefore, pleaded with the NLC to exercise more patience with the government, pointing out that the cash crunch the country was facing is a result of the fall in oil price at the international market.
Mr. Jang also confirmed that the state government owed civil servants two months salaries, as well as a few primary school teachers who are yet to be cleared by the biometric clarification committee.
“In the state, salary has been paid up to October 2014 and we are hoping to pay that of November next week”, he said. “This was not done deliberately by anybody but was an issue that came up as a result of the dwindling federal allocation. Money given to states has been dropping consistently in the last seven months due to fall in oil prices and it might likely worsen. This is the situation of the state civil servants”.
He explained why the government embarked on the biometric exercise to ascertain the status of its workforce.
“The biometric has enabled government to know its staff strength and we implement it at the Local Government level and now we are at the Plateau State Universal Basic Education,” he said. “We hear that teachers have not been paid for seven months. I want to make it clear that the Jang administration has been a very responsible government since inception.
“We were given about 18, 000 names to verify but on the total staff strength, we understand that there were about 21, 000. We found out that some people had issues with their certificates, there are people who graduated from the same institution but their certificates are different. We then send them to the institutions to verify if those in question were there students.
“Most of these certificates came from the University of Jos. Out of about 1,200 people we send to the university, only 800 people have been cleared and they are now on the pay roll. Another category is the Religious Instruction teachers of whom the governor has given the go-ahead to pay them their salaries. So, I can tell you tentatively that out of the 18, 000 names that were given to us, more than 16, 000 have been cleared and have received salary up to December, 2014”.