The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Wednesday raised an eyebrow over what he regarded as total falsehood of an insinuation that Osun is not paying workers their monthly salaries.
This was even as the Governor advocated for a federalised policing which he said remained the only panacea to effective and efficient policing in Nigeria.
Aregbesola said in spite of the economic challenges confronting the nation and Osun state in particular, his administration has not failed in paying the state workforce.
Governor Aregbesola made the statement in Osogbo, the state capital while delivering a key note address at a programme organised by the Osun state command of the Police Community Relations Committee.
Aregbesola said he was aware of the insinuation peddled by those he regarded as gainsayers to incite the public against his administration, saying workers in the state have been paid up to June 2017.
The Governor said his administration has done so much in prioritising the welfare of the workforce, an initiative which, according to him, has made a positive difference in the strive for good governance.
According to him, there is need to educate Nigerians about the salary situation in Osun, because some people have been alleging that his administration is not paying workers’ salaries despite its claim of being conscious about the poverty rocking the people.
“Let me make a resounding correction that despite the paucity of funds, it is only a section of workers on grade level 12 and above who receives painfully 50 percent of their gross salaries based on agreement between the government and the labour union.
“So outside that category of workers on grade level 12 and above, no other receives half of his or her salaries and the workers in this category are just 20 percent of the state workforce.
“Outside that, officers on levels 8-10 receives 75 percent of their salaries while officers on levels 7 and below receive their full pay.
“Contrary to what the gainsayers claimed about us, all workers in the state have received their salaries up to June this year according to the payment scheme and agreement. The only outstanding salary in Osun is the month we are in and by the grace of God before the month end, every worker will earn their salary in line with the agreement will have with workers.
“I am saying this to correct the impression of those spreading falsehood and capitalising on this that we have been up to our responsibilities as regards the payment of workers salaries in accordance with the available resources.
“It is therefore absolutely false to say that we are not paying workers their dues. within the limit of the resources available to us, levels 1-7 have been receiving full pay and they have been paid till June. Levels 8-10 have been receiving 75 percent of their gross salaries and they have been paid till June while 12 and above have been receiving 50 percent of their gross salaries and they have been paid till June.
“Those who say workers in the state of Osun are not paid, please, correct yourselves with that impression, with that notion and with that perception because it is total false”, Aregbesola warned.
The state helmsman noted that his administration has also been conscious about the welfare of pensioners, saying the state has paid pensioners their dues just as active workers have been paid.
He added, “As we pay active workers, so do we pay pensioners. The only outstanding pay to pensioners is the gratuity and this is due to workers who told not to participate in the Contributory Pension Scheme and therefore left from service in 2011/2012.
“The amount required to service that gratuity is about N5billion and we keep on telling them that once we have the capacity to so do, we will surely pay them.
“One thing that is certain about money is that once you don’t have it you can not use it. It doesn’t mean we hate them is because of limited resources to pay them and meet physical expenditure.
“The pensioners in the state do receive their pensions and what is outstanding is only the N5billion that we can not afford for now”
While advocating for the devolution of police structure, Governor Aregbesola canvassed for a total federalisation of Nigeria Police which he said it is the only solution to myriads of civil challenges in the country.
He said unless the powers reside in the Police is being decentralised into zonal units, the Force would continue to languish in challenges and poor professionalism.
Aregbesola said if Nigeria is totally serious about restoring sanity to the society, thus police must be restructured in such a way that will be more accessible and felt by the people in the society, saying this is only way to prepare against all forms of societal vices like terrorism, kidnapping among others.
According to him, we have to federalise policing instead of the current centralised policing we have.
“If we are truly serious about combating crimes and criminality most especially the acts of terrorism and kidnapping, then we have to federate the present structure of Nigeria police.
“It is obsolete for the Inspector General of Police receiving direct brief from state Commissioner of Police. Nigeria is too big for this.
“So if we can not afford total decentralisation of Police, then let us adopt zonal Command structure that will localise policing within the zone.
“I am advocating for federation of police structure. We must have state and local police structure so as to effectively combat crimes and criminality in the country.
“As we all know, most of our security challenges are basically due to inability of our ecentralised structure of policing in which police do fail to effectively understand the terrain to which perpetrators of many of these crimes operate”, Aregbesola stressed.
In his lecture, the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, attributed some of the socio-economic, religious, political and security challenges in the country to lack of personal sacrificial spirit between and among Nigerian people.
Arase whose lecture was underpinned on the theme of the symposium, “Combating Twin Evil of Terrorism and Kidnapping through People’s Policing in Nigeria”, condemned in its totality what he described as barbaric the incessant cases of kidnapping, terrorism and insurgency in the country.
He said it is a time for all to develop consciousness towards securing the society by reporting any strange within and outside the individuals’ communities, states and nation at large.
Arase who called for efficient policing, said the security agencies must wake p from slumber by being rededicated to duty, saying this is the only way to stem the tide of insecurity challenges facing the country.
He charged men and officers of Nigeria Police Force on the need to champion professionalism, efficiency, effectiveness and proficiency while discharging their constitutional responsibilities to the people.
The former IGP said to prevent crime, criminality and all related menace, thus all hands must be on deck to champion the cause of adequate and effective policing while consciousness must be built to rescue the society from any form of threats.
According to him, what the nation needs at the moment is to strengthen the security sector and promote ideology that can strengthen security consciousness from all quarters.
“While police are expected to always respect the rights of the people in discharging their duties, likewise the society must also do the needful in supporting the efforts of the security agencies.
“Policing is an enormous task that should not be left in the hands of the security agencies alone, but rather a duty for all.
“We must all involve in sanitising our society by ensuring that every aspect is thoroughly considered in providing a secured, saved and crime free society capable of aiding all rond growth and development.
“It behooves on all especially the security agencies to always preach peace, unity and togetherness in making an edge way for the growth and development of the country.
Corroborating similar gestures, the President, Women Arise Centre for Change, Nigerians Unite Against Terror, Dr. Joe Okei Odumakin, called for massive anti-terrorism, anti-kidnapping and anti-insurgency advocacy among Nigerians in every nook and cranny of the country.
Dr Odumakin said the pace of terrorism, kidnapping and anti-societal vices in the country have become serious national challenges that required an urgent intervention of all.
She called for synergy and symbiotic relationship between and among Nigerians at a time the country is being challenged with myriads of insecurity problems.
Odumakin said it is high time for Nigerians to pursue peace, unity and togetherness as panacea for development, saying no iota of change cold be recorded in a disarray country.
According to her, it is time to do the neeedful in preaching unity and denounce any divisive tendency that could tear us apart.
“No development could be achieved in an environment predominated by insecurity and unrest, hence the need for all to fight on the need to ensure absolute peace and stability.
“We have to remain bond irrespective of our differences as a people and nation as it behooves on us all to promote peaceful coexistence among ourselves for meaningful development.
“We must do away with anything that could promote rancour, unrest and disorderliness”, she added.
Also, Comrade Oyebade Olowo suggested a community policing as one of the ways to enhance effective security in the country.
Olowogboyega who is a barrister at law said it is time for Nigerian government to go back to drawing board and as well look inward on the need to support the agitation for state and local policing as the only way to effectively combat all forms of societal anomalies.
He commended Governor Aregbesola’s social protection programmes which according to him had helped in keeping the society against all forms of social insecurity.
Barrister Olowogboyega said Governor Aregbesola has been proactive towards the security of lives and property of the citizenry since he assumed office saying the claims had manifested in the high quality of standard of living of the people of the state.