June 26, 2023

Gov Alia commences payment of Benue civil servants after seven months wait

Gov Alia

Gov. Alia

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

After about seven months of waiting, civil servants on the payroll of the Benue state government have started receiving their monthly salaries.

The civil servents had gone without salaries since December 2022 following periods of court garnishee orders on the bank accounts of the government and other sundry issues.

But on assumption of office, Governor Hyacinth Alia during his June 12, 2023 Democracy Day broadcast assured the civil servants that they would start receiving their salaries from June 25.

The Governor during the broadcast said, “we are aware of the sufferings and hardships of our people especially Civil Servants and retirees due to non-payment of their Salaries, Pensions and Gratuities. We call for your patience and understanding as we are working hard to address these problems. Indeed, as from 25th of this month, Civil Servants should start expecting alerts for their payments.”

Keeping to his promise, Benue civil servants started receiving their salary alerts on Sunday evening being June 25, but all they got was the May salary.

Though at the time of this report some civil servants were still eagerly expecting their alerts.

A teacher in one of the government secondary schools in Makurdi town, who simply identified herself as Mrs. Lubem disclosed that like her colleagues she was yet to get her alert.

She said, “We have been waiting for our alert as promised by Governor Alia that we will be receiving it from June 25. And as promised we started hearing the news that civil servants were receiving their alerts  Sunday night.

“Though those of us who are teachers have not received ours but we will get it because from all indications we receive our salaries after others, maybe because we are the largest arm of the service.”

On his part, a staff of the state Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that he received his May salary alert, “we received May but we were hearing rumours that we would get four months because we have not receive our salaries since December of 2022.

“But we still thank God because it was not easy to live without your salaries for close to seven months. We hope that the government will offset all the arrears because the new government gave its words that its immediate priority would be the payment of salaries, pensions and gratuity.”

Contacted, the State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Mr. Michael Vember said his members were yet to receive alerts.

He said: “We have not received any alert but we are hopeful because the Governor promised to give attention to our plight.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom urged Governor Hyacinth Alia to keep to his promise of clearing the backlog of salaries.

The party also claimed that the government had received enough funds that could comfortably offset substantial part of the unpaid salaries.

The Publicity Secretary in the statement said: “Our great party is aware the Governor who is still running a government without a cabinet has received into the state’s treasury tens of billions of Naira from the monthly federal statutory allocation as well from stamp duty and debt swap accruals.

“Those are accruals which the immediate past administration of Samuel Ortom did fulfill all due diligence requirements for accessing, with offsetting of workers salaries and pensions arrears earmarked as priority expenditure from same.

“We urge Governor Alia to maintain same expenditure priority with those funds as was envisaged by his predecessor who worked to secure them, by keeping true to the understanding of paying four months arrears to workers in this month of June.

“With the volume of funds currently at his disposal, Governor Alia will have no reason for not keeping to this understanding in the interest of the state and her people, particularly the workers.”