Investigation by Trail Reporters has confirmed that, the Yobe state government have sacked thousands of workers from its payroll.
Findings shows that, 1360 local government workers from Nangere Fika, 2100 workers in Potiskum, 590 workers in Fune 140 workers and Tarmuwa 190 workers local government areas of Yobe state have not been paid their salaries for the past 10-19 months.
We gathered that, series of workers verification have taken place between October 2015 to December 2016 through out local government areas of Yobe State on the direction of the State government.
Workers verification were marred by irregularities, lack of transparency and wrongful omission of genuine workers from staff payroll as confirmed by the state government spokesman, Abdullahi Bego.
Meanwhile the information available to us is that the state government in collaboration with local government chairmen are discreetly trying to sack unsuspecting workers, so as to have enough money to execute what they called developmental projects, despite not employing for the past 11 years.
The workers verification that took place between October 2015 to January 2016, resulted in dubiously removing hundreds of genuine workers mostly junior staff from staff payroll after they have been duly cleared by the audit committee.
Secondly, other workers verification followed in July 2016, in which the victims of the first verification were denied access to the committee and excluded from the exercise, many other genuine workers were deliberately removed thereafter.
Surprisingly after the 2nd verification, permanent secretary local government and chieftaincy affairs said in a statement reported by leadership newspaper of 2nd September 2016 that the state government have discovered that 75% of local government workers had their letters of appointment backdated, hence they were sacked.
Moreover, in December 2016, after so much pressure from different quarters, the state government reluctantly set up another committee to rectify the anomalies caused by its deliberate actions.
On 7th February, 2017, Alhaji Mala Musti the commissioner for information and culture in an interview with V.O.A Hausa morning service said the state government was not owing anybody salaries and that it had settled all outstanding salaries.
In a press statement by the local government workers, debunking the commissioner’s claim that the state government on 6th March, 2017 through its spokesman Abdullahi Bego hurriedly provided clarification on the matter, where he claimed that the December 2016 committee had just concluded their work and that the state governor was at that time waiting for the report to work on it.
However, after above two months now, the said report is still with the committee, which confirmed the fears, that verification was just a smokescreen to divert attention to the state government’s inability to pay salaries, and then used the opportunity to sack unsuspecting workers.
One of the workers who spoke with Trail Reporters said, “it is disheartening this is coming when the Federal government is doing everything to curb Boko Haram insurgency and control the humanitarian crises in the northeast.”
As at the time of this report, 300 workers have signed a petition, which was addressed to the National headquarters of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).
The Yobe State Government’s spokesman, Abdullahi, did not respond to calls placed to his phone.