Umuahia – NO fewer than 300 workers of Bende Local Government Area in Abia yesterday marched to Government House in Umuahia to protest the non-payment of their five months’ salary arrears.
Mr Gabriel Ukpai, one of the leaders of the peaceful protest, said that the aim was to bring their plight to the attention of state government.
“The last time we were paid was in April and this is September; yet there is no sign that we will be paid,” Ukpai said.
Ukpai alleged that the council workers’ problem started when an official of the transition committee returned N3.5 million to the state government shortly after his appointment.
He described as false, claims by the official that the money was saved from the council’s allocation following the elimination of ghost workers from the council’s payroll.
Ukpai alleged that the returned money was part of workers’ check-off dues and welfare levies.
He said that the negative impact of the refund was the noticeable shortfall in the monthly allocations to the council.
According to him, Bende Local Government currently receives about N15 million as monthly statutory allocations against the earlier N45 million monthly.
Ukpai also said that the “refusal” of the local government to pay the workers had nothing to do with the newly introduced biometric data system for payment of salaries.
Some others workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also called on the state government to intervene in the matter.
Chief Ike Onyenweaku, state Commissioner for Agriculture, who received the protesting workers on behalf of the governor, promised that government would intervene in the matter.
He advised them to go back to their duty posts and promised that the state government would look into their grievances.
The Chairman of the affected local government, who came to the Government House shortly after the protest, declined to comment on the issues. (NAN)