By Umar Bayo Abdulwahab
Scores of local government workers under the aegis of National Union of Local Government Employees of Nigeria (NULGE) yesterday barricaded the entrance of the state Government House in Ilorin, protesting the non-payment of their salaries, spanning between seven and eight months.
The placard-carrying protesters converged as early as 8 am at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) secretariat in the metropolis before marching through the popular Ahmadu Bello way and berthed at the government house.
Some of the placards read: “Enough is enough, ebi oo! Where is LG IGR? SA Labour must go, we say no to JAAC, and where is LG allocation”?
At the government house the peaceful protesters demanded to see the government, as they want him to address them on the situation of things.
As at the time of filing in this report, a pick up van of armed soldiers had been stationed to ward-off possible threat to the seat of power.
The soldiers were stationed in front of the state’s Banquet Hall directly opposite the main entrance of the Government House, Ilorin.
Addressing reporters, state Secretary of NULGE, Abayomi Afolab said: “Worldwide, 100 per cent of the countries have local government areas. Only 45 per cent of the countries in the world have state governments. So state government tier is the one that is not necessary, it should be scrapped because it is a tool being used to enrich the few to the disadvantage of the majority.
And in a swift reaction, the state government in a statement through issued by the Senior Special Assistant Media said it was not “constitutionally responsible for payment of local government workers’ salaries”.
The statement read: ”While the Abdulfatah Ahmed administration sympathises with the workers regarding the unfortunate salary crises at the local government level, the Kwara state government is not constitutionally responsible for payment of local government workers’ salaries.
“As everyone is aware, the local government arrears were caused by the huge drop in their federal allocation from N2.7b to N1b monthly.