The Nasarawa State chapter of the Nigerian Union of local Government Employee, NULGE, has accused Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Tanko Al-makura, of neglecting the union for the past two years which led to the indefinite strike declared by a faction of the union.
The state NULGE has since 2010 been thrown into chaos as a result of an election which divided the union into two factions.
Speaking to journalists in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, a factional state president of NULGE,Adamu Salihu Eladoga, attributed the declaration of the strike to government’s insensitivity to the plight of workers.
According to him, a lot of local government staff have been under paid since the state government carried out biometric registration of workers.
He also faulted the inability of the state government to pay local government workers their annual increment for the past three years.
Eladoga said another reason for the strike is the delay in paying salaries of local government workers and the delay in the reinstatement of over 5,000 local government workers who dismissed after Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura came into office in 2011.
Another rationale for the strike, according to the union’s president, is the inability of the state government to pay leave transport grants to any of its worker since 2010.
The union president also faulted the non-implementation of scheme of service for local government which was initiated by the Obasanjo administration.
“The inadequate funding of local government is affecting the progress of local governments drastically, both in infrastructural development and security wise. Almost one-third of the local governments in this state is engulfed by one crisis or the other and the local government is the immediate government to those communities and they need to have enough funds on ground to tackle this crisis because no one can tackle security problems without money,” he said.
“The security agents need fuel, working materials and other allowances and the local government is supposed to cater for these needs.”
He further: “Everyday the government will say local government money is intact but I don’t want to jump the gun because apart from salary, the money local government is being given only N500,000 to run the affairs of the local government for a month. This is not enough for each local government.”
The president maintained that “under normal circumstance, government should make money coming into state/local government account public. The distribution should also be made public, just as it is the case in Benue and other states. But, in our own case, it is an exclusive affair”.
Eladoga called for the speedy passage of law on local government
autonomy as, according to him, it is the only way development can get to the grassroot.