From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Workers of Doma Local Government Area, Nasarawa State on Friday blocked the convoy of the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, as they staged a protest for non-payment of their two months’ salaries.
The aggrieved workers also protested over an alleged disappearance of N20 million deducted from their salaries by the Federal Mortgage Housing Scheme barricaded thehe road. The blockage of the road had began since Monday this week as they conducted special prayer in the middle of the road.
The deputy governor, Dr Akabe, who is an indigene of Doma alongside the embattled Council Chairman, Mr Rabo Sani, had earlier met with the workers to plead with them to remain calm. They told the workers that the state government is doing everything possible to address their plight but the workers ignored their pleas.
The council chairman blamed his predecessors for the inability of the council to pay the workers, saying illegal employment of civil servants worsened the situation.
According to him, “I did not employ a single civil servant, but my predecessors made the mistake, by employing over 500 civil servants.”
He, however, stated that the rationale behind the protest was due to the shortage of funds to pay workers salaries, noting that it is a statewide problem, as he appealed to the workers who had blocked the deputy governor’s convoy.
On the missing Federal Mortgage Housing fund, he denied the allegations, saying, the local government borrowed the money to pay workers salaries.
“The money from Federal Mortgage Housing fund is not missing, rather we borrowed the money to pay staff salaries, and all the Union leaders were aware of the transaction,” he said.
He said the 13 local government councils of the state needed a sum of N2.1 billion to settle two months staff salaries.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the local government area, Mr Baba Ali, could not be reached at the time of filing this report.