By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA – Tragedy again struck in the Kogi State civil service as a staff of the State Ministry of Education, Haruna David, suddenly slumped and died in the office over alleged non payment of salaries.
David, a deputy director in the quality control department of the ministry, in his early 50’s, was said to have slumped around 12:00 noon while going for the mandatory two times a day clock-in -clock – out for civil servants in the state; a practice introduced by the present governor Yahaya Bello.
He was said to have been rushed to the state hospital where he was confirmed dead on arrival.
Those who had interactions with David at work earlier in the day claimed he was full of life in the morning when he heard that the state government would pay their March salary, but that when the news became false, but that David could have had a skipped mind.
He was however said to have complained after his salary expectations was cut off, that in the last few weeks, it had been difficult meeting his family obligations, and that he had been begging from neighbors to feed his family.
David, an indigene of Ogugu in Olamoboro local government area of the State, had, while alive, complained to friends that he was last paid a half salary in February 2018, which could not pay backlogs of debt he had incurred.
As at time of filing this report, workers on the payroll of the state government were last paid January salary, with just few who had received their February half payment.
Vanguard’s visit to the state ministry of education met staffers of the ministry crying profusely, saying late David was a hardworking staff member who laboured diligently at his duty post.
They also lamented that with the present situation in the state, that more workers are likely to suffer same fate if their issues were not addressed.
Many of the staff members who preferred not to be mentioned said David’s death may not be unconnected to the delayed salary payment. They called on the government to help ameliorate the plight of the workers.
David, until his death, was the Chairman, Ogugu Development Association, Lokoja branch and was a renowned referee in the state.
Meanwhile, the State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Mr. Onuh Edoka said the union has directed two of their members to investigate the cause of death before the leadership of the union could make their position known.