…34 states owe backlog of gratuities, l27 burdened by unpaid pensions, l13 owe salaries
…We’re doing our best to clear them –State govts
By Our reporter
No fewer than 34 outgoing, returning, and sitting governors are leaving a huge burden of unpaid gratuities, while 27 of them are being choked by unpaid multi-billion pension arrears.
Similarly, 13 states are burdened with a backlog of salary arrears and other unpaid benefits to their employees.
Investigations by Vanguard revealed that four states in the South-East, four in the South-West, and five Northern states owe workers salaries.
On pensions, five states in the South-West, five in the South-East, 15 in the North, and two in the South-South owe their retirees a backlog of accumulated pensions.
In the same vein, only about three states nationwide are believed not to owe gratuity to their pensioners.
Akeredolu’s intervention in Ondo
In Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who will finish his second term, next year, met a backlog of seven months’ salary arrears and has paid six, remaining of January 2017 and two months for local government workers.
Ondo State workers are owed N27 billion as gratuities while local government workers are owed N36 billion.
The state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Victor Amoko, told Vanguard that “a special intervention by the governor was extended to address the huge outstanding arrears of gratuities being owed retirees from 2011 to 2023 with the release of N300 million to pay the gratuities on monthly basis.
Amoko said the gratuities had been paid up till 2014.
Oyebanji inherits N40bn unpaid gratuities in Ekiti
Similarly, Governor Biodun Oyebanji, who began his first term last year, in Ekiti State, inherited from his predecessor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, three months’ salary arrears for state civil servants, and four months’ salary arrears for local government workers.
Retirees were owed seven months’ pensions and unpaid N40 billion in gratuities.
However, Oyebanji has defrayed the arrears to one month for state civil servants and two months for the local government workers and paid three months’ arrears of pensions.
The State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Joel Akinola, put the total gratuities at over N40 billion since August 13, 2013, noting that the Governor released N500 million for state pensioners, and N138 million for local government pensioners, which are being disbursed to the beneficiaries.
Akinola said that “Governor Oyebanji has approved a tranche of N700 million to offset part of the gratuities for state pensioners and N250 million to offset part of the local government pensioners.
Ogun owes 18 months’ salary deductions
In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun owes civil servants 18 months’ salary deductions such as Union dues, cooperative deductions, and pension (Contributory Pension Scheme).
The State Secretary of NUP, Mr Bola Lawal, said out of N68 billion that Governor Abiodun inherited from Ibikunle Amosun’s government, he has paid N3.6 billion.
Adeleke battles N76bn arrears in Osun
The accumulated salary arrears and pensions that Governor Ademola Adeleke, who took over from Gboyega Oyetola, in Osun, last November, is owing serving and retired workers are put at N76billion.
However, the gratuity owed to non-contributory pensioners is not clear yet as the Ministry in charge has not made the amount public.
Pensions, gratuities last paid in 2015 in Oyo
Returning Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State does not owe workers in both the state and local governments services.
However, the state NLC chairman, Kayode Matins, said pensions and gratuities were last paid by the state government in 2015.
According to him, “l would have loved to give you the details, but I don’t have access to the files now to give the accurate figure of the outstanding pensions and gratuities.”
Lagos workers demand pension entitlements since 2020
In Lagos, while officials of the state government said the government owes no salary, pension, or gratuity, the chairman of Lagos State Council of NLC, Funmi Sessi, last May Day, said: “We wish to acknowledge and appreciate the improvement you (Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu) brought about in the monthly bond allocation since the inception of your administration in 2019 and the April 2023 for payment of N5 Billion to 1,800 retirees in Lagos State.
“We also demand immediate payment of all the backlog of pensions entitlement (bond) from 2020 till date.”
Gratuities, pension burden in S/South
All the six state governments in the South-South zone have been consistent in the payment of monthly salaries to workers but none is up to date in the payment of gratuities and pensions to retired workers, except Akwa-Ibom which also pays pensions monthly.
Government officials were, however, hesitant to reveal the total figure, especially gratuities the different states owe workers, which had piled up over the years.
N7bn gratuities unpaid in Akwa Ibom
In Akwa Ibom State, the immediate past Governor, Udom Emmanuel, did not owe workers monthly salaries and pensions.
He inherited N18 billion in unpaid gratuities and cleared N11 billion, leaving N7 billion, which his successor will deal with.
In Bayelsa, Governor Douye Diri, who is seeking a second term on November 11, 2023, pays workers their salaries and pensioners monthly.
However, there is a backlog of unpaid gratuities from the time of Timipre Sylva and Senator Seriake Dickson’s administrations. Dickson, now a Senator, promised to pay gratuities before a worker disengages from service but only released between N250 million to N300 million for three months before he left office.
Things only changed with Diri, who promised to release N200 million monthly for payment of gratuities, and recently, increased it to N1 billion to clear the backlog dating back to 2007/2008.
As of date, his administration has reportedly cleared up to 2013.
Obaseki moves to clear the burden in Edo
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who leaves office next year, pays workers their salaries monthly. He inherited a huge backlog of pensions and gratuities from the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration.
The Chairman of Edo NUP, C. Pullen Noruwa, revealed: “He approved in 2022 May Day celebration the payment of gratuities to state pensioners from 2012 until date and the local government pensioners from 2008 until date. There is going to be a monthly release of N200 million and the payment will start from July 1, this year.
“The Head of Service will set up a committee to ensure that they pay according to the year of retirement. If they pay this gratuity, it will only remain a consequential change, which is because of the N30,000 minimum wage for workers. The governor has actually tried.”
Gratuity burden remains in Rivers
Payment of salaries to workers in Rivers State has been regular under the immediate past governor, Nyesom Wike, but contrary to gratuities and pensions which he allegedly committed N3 billion monthly.
Chairman of the NLC, Alex Agwanwor, declined comments on the matter.
However, a top civil servant, who just retired, said: “Salaries have been regular but they staggered pension payment in the guise of biometric capture of pensioners. So those not yet captured have not benefited. However, it is on gratuities that Governor Wike has not done well. Many retirees have not received gratuities years after retirement, some even before the governor came into office.”
Gratuity yoke persists in C- River
Cross River State’s immediate past governor, Senator Ben Ayade, has been paying salaries and pensions to both civil servants and political appointees.
Sometimes, workers and appointees receive their salary alerts twice a month. This is during the Christmas season and May Day.
What, however, has been an issue of concern is the payment of gratuities running into billions of naira. Workers that retired since 2014 are yet to get their terminal benefits.
The workers’ unions, particularly the NLC, have been fighting a spirited battle with the governor over the outstanding payments.
Okowa leaves N24.9b pension in Delta
In Delta State, the departed administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa paid workers’ salary promptly on a monthly basis.
As for pensions and gratuity, his government is indebted to workers but has attempted to reduce its burden by spending N1.5 billion monthly on servicing pension liabilities.
Sometime last year, the state government disbursed N10 billion in two tranches to pay state and local government pensioners. The summary of outstanding accrued rights and harmonisation difference as of April 31, 2023, is N24.9 billion.
Enugu owes 3yrs of minimum wage arrears
In Enugu, as the eight years administration of the immediate past Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, left the civil servants in the state, particularly those in the state parastatals, with no less than three years arrears of minimum wage which its implementation in the state commenced three years after the Federal Government and other states began its implementation.
National Vice Chairman of Trade Union Congress and the Enugu State chairman of Senior Civil Service Union, Chuks Igbokwe told Vanguard that whereas the backlog of the minimum wage arrears has been foreclosed, the state government is also owing pensioners of local government and primary school teachers pension arrears of no less than three years.
Tales of woes in Abia
In Abia State, workers will remember the administration of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as the worst so far in the history of the state in terms of salary arrears as doctors in the State University Teaching Hospital Aba, ABSUTH, are owed 24 months; their counterparts at Hospital Management Board, HMB, are owed 13 months; secondary school teachers are owed 11 months while primary school teachers are owed three months.
Others, according to a recent statement by the President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, include 29 months for workers in Abia State College of Education; workers of Abia College of Health Sciences not paid five months arrears; Abia pensioners have not been paid their gratuity for the past 15 years while their pension arrears are over 48 months.
Lamenting the situation, Secretary, of Concerned Abia Pensioners, Chief C. U Okezie, said retirees no longer talk of gratuities but their monthly pension to at least buy drugs and stay alive.
Soludo owes N14bn pension in Anambra
Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State owes N14 billion for pensions and gratuity. However, he has pledged to liquidate them gradually.
Since he assumed office, he has consistently been paying gratuity to all those who retire during his regime, while also picking from the backlog of those who retired before he became governor.
Imo owes arrears from 2020
In Imo State, the NLC Chairman Caretaker Committee, George Ofoegbu, informed that the Imo State government owes salaries, pensions, and gratuities from 2020.
Most affected, according to him, are members of the Imo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE.
However, Basil Iwu, leader of NLC, backed by Governor Hope Uzodimma, who is standing for re-election on November 11, 2023, is of a different view, as he commended the governor for prompt payment of salaries, and pensions.
However, spokesman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, in Imo State, Sam Iheakanwa, said, “Not all pensioners have been captured into the payment system. Some are still owed. But we are still waiting for all of them to be captured before we talk of arrears owed.”
Umahi leaves a backlog of pensions, gratuities in Ebonyi
The Chairman of NLC in Ebonyi State, Oguguo Egwu, said the immediate past government of Engr Dave Umahi left a huge backlog of unpaid pension, gratuities, and salary arrears for the incoming administration in the state.
“I do not have specific details but there is a backlog of pensions, gratuities, and salary arrears which the outgoing regime is trying to address.”
Chairman of SSANU, Ebonyi State, Mr. Odigbo N. said: “The government owes pension and gratuities in EBSU. Workers are being owed. For salaries, we have been paid till March 2023. “
Benue owes 74 months of pensions
In Benue, as Governor Samuel Ortom’s administration exited on May 29, the state government is owing pensioners 34 months of entitlements at the state level, and 74 months at the local government level, which were accumulated by successive governments over the years.
The government might also be leaving behind between four and five months of unpaid wages accumulated during the 2017 economic recession. Though workers have not been paid for about four months in the year 2023 due to supposed garnishee orders by the courts, the government may remedy the situation before its terminal date.
Niger owing N16bn gratuities
In Niger State, the immediate past Governor Abubakar Bello is not owing civil servants both at the state and local government areas of salaries.
But he left a backlog of unpaid gratuities for the incoming government to settle.
It was gathered that the government will leave between N14 billion and N16 billion.
Last year, the state chairman of NLC who is now the Deputy Governor, Yakubu Garba, declared at the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, State Executive meeting that the state government was owing pensioners in the state N50 billion and vowed to fight through “constitutional means” for the payment to be effected.
Huge backlog in Bauchi
In Bauchi State, the government of re-elected Bala Mohammed has implemented the consequential adjustment on the minimum wage of N30,000 for civil servants across all cadres and pensioners since December 2020.
However, workers and pensioners have complained about the staggered salary and pension payments after a screening exercise by the government to weed out ghost workers in 2019.
Furthermore, there is a backlog of unpaid gratuities and death benefits that had lingered since 2011.
In December 2020 the governor released about N400 million to offset part of the gratuity and death benefits.
Adamawa owes N3bn in gratuities, pension
Adamawa State is indebted to pensioners to the tune N3billion in terms of gratuity and pensions
But, the government of re-elected Ahmadu Fintiri, was quick to clear the air that the backlog of the indebtedness was incurred by successive governments since 2012.
This is even as the State Pensioners Association claimed that the unpaid pensions and gratuity, including retired local government staff run into N4 billion.
The association added that no fewer than 20 of its members die as a result of their inability to bear the economic crunch.
Katsina owes N10bn in gratuities
In Katsina, the immediate past Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s government left a backlog of unpaid gratuities for the incoming government.
According to the Katsina NLC Chairman, Hussaini Hamisu, the backlog of gratuities includes those of retirees from 2019 to date.
It was gathered that the unpaid gratuities are not less than N10 billion.
Ganduje leaves N40bn gratuities in Kano
As Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje-led administration came to an end on May 29, the state government left behind a backlog of over N40 billion in unpaid gratuities for the incoming government.
The unpaid gratuities from 2006 to date comprise the tenures of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and the present administration of Dr. Ganduje.
Ishaku leaves unpaid six months’ salaries in Taraba
In Taraba State, the immediate past government of Governor Darius Ishaku is leaving six months and five months of local government workers and primary school teachers’ salaries
The state NLC Chairman, Peter Jediel, said the N30,000 minimum wage is also yet to be implemented.
He also lamented that gratuities are still being owed while some retirees are yet to be included in the state pension scheme.
“Also, there is a backlog of gratuities for retirees in the state from 2015 and inability to capture over 1000 retirees into the monthly pension,” he added.
Zulum’s intervention in Borno
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno inherited a backlog of salaries, pensions, and gratuities running into billions of Naira upon assumption of office.
Worried by the situation, Zulum, in 2020, obtained a N12 billion loan to settle some of these gratuities owed to 4,862 retirees who left the state and local government civil service from 2013 to 2017.
This was a follow-up to the N3 Billion earlier released by the government in September 2019, to clear the gratuities of 1,684 retirees who left the civil service between 2013 to 2019.
But the Chairman of NLC in the state, Yusuf Inuwa, lamented that the staggered mode of gratuity payments has resulted in the non-payment of gratuities to some beneficiaries from 2012 to 2017 and beyond.
Huge backlog on the Plateau
The immediate past government in Plateau State is leaving a backlog of unpaid salaries and gratuities for the incoming government.
The February 2023 salaries were paid to some staff just over a week ago while others are yet to be paid theirs.
Gratuities have not been paid since 2010, the State Chairman of Pensioner, Mr. Ben Bello, confirmed.
Governor Simon Lalong, who completed his second term on May 29, had on May Day, promised that the backlog of salaries would be cleared before he exits office.
Again, the State Head of Service, Sunday Hyat, told Vanguard: “The government defaulted in the payment of some months’ salaries but efforts are on to address that.
The March and April salaries will be paid as promised.
For the gratuities, there was an agreement with the United Capital but it was delayed because the House of Assembly had not signed the necessary documents.
Sokoto saddled with 7 years of gratuities
Immediate past Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State is leaving among others not less than seven years of unpaid gratuities for the incoming government that runs into billions of Naira.
The present administration only paid civil servants that retired in 2015 the amount it inherited as a liability.
Retirees complained that the governor has been paying his political associates who either retire or withdraw their services after his party the PDP was defeated in the last general election leaving behind the accumulated gratuity of civil servants who retired seven years ago.
Yobe accumulates gratuities
In Yobe State, Vanguard gathered that the government of Mai Mala Buni, who just won his re-election, is up to date with salary and pension payments.
But the governor has accumulated unpaid gratuities for not less than five months weighing his government down.
Outstanding backlogs in Zamfara
The Zamfara State Government, according to the state NLC, “has only partially implemented the N30,000 minimum wage for core civil servants without implementation for local government employees.
“Similarly, the government owes two months’ salary arrears to state workers. That is March and April.
“For pension, the payment has been staggered with several pensioners owed many months of arrears. The worst of all is gratuities which the government (of Bello Mattawale, who lost his re-election bid in the last poll), has not paid since assumption of office.”
Nasarawa owes N42bn gratuities
In Nasarawa State, the government of Governor Abdullahi Sule, who just won a second term, has unpaid gratuities of about N42billion.
The government, however, pays salary and pensions regularly.
Backlog of unpaid gratuity in Kwara
Similarly, returning Governor AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman of Kwara State is up to date in salary and pensions but has a backlog of gratuities.
His Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, informed that “the government is releasing an average of N100 million monthly to offset arrears of gratuities that date back to 2010/2011.”
However, the state chairman of NUP, Saidu Oladimeji differed, saying: “I can tell you for free that from 2012 till, date some categories of pensioners are still being owed gratuity.”
The Jigawa example
While it was gathered that the Jigawa State government paid pensioners their pensions on May 5, 2023, and workers’ salaries are up to date, there is, however, no information about gratuities.
No backlog in Kaduna
In Kaduna, where Governor Nasir el-Rufai will finish his second term on May 29, the state government is not owing pensioners and workers their pensions and salaries as it pays as when due.
Special Adviser to the Kaduna State Governor on Media and Publicity, Muyiwa Adekeye, stated that the “Kaduna State Government consistently discharges its obligations to its workers and retirees. It does not owe salaries or pensions.”
Backlog of gratuities choking Gombe
In Gombe, returning Governor Muhammadu Yahaya of Gombe State is said to be up to date with salary and pension payments.
The leadership of NLC in the state said the governor has been grappling with accumulated gratuity arrears that date back to 2014. It was gathered that the governor has cleared up to 2017 backlog of unpaid gratuities.
Kogi battling inherited unpaid gratuities
According to the state chairman of NLC in Kogi State, Amari Gabriel, “Governor Yahaya Bello does not owe salary or pension to workers or pensioners in the state.
“For gratuities, you know every state government across the country is battling with a backlog and accumulated gratuity arrears. It is not different in Kogi State. I know the governor has been making a frantic effort to clear the backlog of inherited gratuities. I do not have the actual figure now which can only be gotten from the Pension bureau”.
Bagudu leaves on a clean slate in Kebbi
The immediate past Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State will go down in the history of the state as the only governor who never owed workers salaries and offset the backlog of gratuities he inherited from his predecessor.
This was disclosed by his special adviser on media Malam Yahya Sarkin, who said that even during the COVID-19 lockdown when some governors were paying civil servants half salaries Bagudu paid full salaries.
The only pending payment is a few who retired at the tail end of Bagudu’s government which is still being compiled and undergoing verifications.