Benin - Edo Government has stopped the allocation of security votes to Local Government Chairmen due to non-payment of workers' salaries.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole gave the directive at an enlarged meeting of workers’ union in Benin on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by the government and the executives of NULGE, ALGON, NLC, TUC, NUT, JUSUN and the Joint Negotiating Council.
Oshiomhole also stopped payment of all forms of allowances to the council's chairmen, their vice, councillors as well as other political appointees.
He directed the suspension of payment of contractors by the local government councils and the removal of casual workers on their payrolls.
Oshiomhole said there was no need for local government chairmen to pay themselves or any political appointees and contractors if the council workers were not paid.
He added that the workers were the first contractors and were entitled to their wages, while re-echoing that "a worker was entitled to his wages and the pay day, sacrosanct."
Oshiomhole said the measures would help stop leakages in the councils that owed between one and two months’ salary arrears to their workers.
He said there was hope in the horizon for all those in arrears of salary of up to nine months.
"This is because the Federal Government has resolved to share the revenue from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), among the tiers of government," he said.
Oshiomhole said that until now, the revenue from the NLNG was not remitted to the Federation Account.
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He also said that much as he sympathized with the local government workers and the council over the non-payment of their salaries, his administration would not use state funds to pay LG workers.
Oshiomhole explained that he had never and would never interfere with the resources of local government councils as the councils were in full control of their resources.
He, however, added that if there were wastages and leakages, the state would guide the councils on how to block such.
Oshiomhole also said the state could also guide the councils on how to spend their resources in order to bring the dividends of democracy to their people.
The governor said he had consistently encouraged local government councils to give priority to the payment of teachers' salaries.
He explained that this was because the present administration in the state would not compromise the education of the Edo child.
"Instead, I will refuse any arrangement that will make access to education an exclusive right of children of the rich of the state," he said.
Oshiomhole stressed that the position of the state government on education and payment of teachers’ salaries was non-negotiable.
Earlier, the factional Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Emmanuel Ademokun, appealed to the state government to come to the aide of the workers.
Ademokun said local government chairmen were reckless in their spending and were only concerned about collecting their security votes and paying contractors rather than the workers who do the work.
He said from NULGE's information, only Etsako East, Esan South East, and Owan East councils were up to date in the payment of staff salaries.