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WORKERS at Ondo State Oil Producing Development Commission (OSOPADEC), on Tuesday, marched to the office of Laolu Akindolire, the state’s accountant general to protest the non-payment of their three months salaries.
The workers were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions such as “Obey Arakunrin directive,” “Arakunrin, Save OSOPADEC From AG,” “OSOPADEC Is Not An appendage Of AG’s Office,” “AG Release Our Money Now,” “Laolu Misrepresenting Aketi’s Administration,” “Laolu Akindolire Enemy of Development Laolu Proceed On Leave Now.”
The workers noted with concern that despite approval by the state government, the accountant general has refused to pay them their October, November and December salaries.
Despite being told that the accountant general was not available, they adamantly demanded that he must come out from wherever he had gone to and address them and state the reasons why they were yet to be pay their salaries.
Laolu, who admitted to the claims upon his arrival, told the protesters that though the salaries had been approved, there was no cash backing the approval and his office could not facilitate the payment of their salaries.
“Approval for salaries, vouchers are all inside here, but there’s no cash backing. You can only pay if there is cash backing. The commissioner of finance is there; he can confirm this,” he said.
He was reportedly shouted down while he was explaining to the angry workers all the intricacies that go with the payment of salaries.
There was indeed an attempt by workers to attack him when they forced their way into his office but was prevailed upon by their leaders.
Oyesanmi Ilesanmi, the state chairman of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations and Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), who led the protesters, said Laolu was responsible for the delay in payment of his members’ salaries.
He said the protest became an option after letters written to the accountant general’s office to seek clarifications were ignored.
The workers wondered who was lying between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the state governor and the accountant general. He vowed that his members will continue to occupy the protest premises until their salaries are paid.
“We have got approval for the payment of the October salaries from the governor close to two months now and no payment has been made. We have written letters to the accountant general, and nothing has been done, and there was no reason or explanation as to why the salaries have not been paid,” he said.
“We issued him 7-day ultimatum, then 3-day ultimatum, which lapsed on Friday, last week, but they didn’t respond. Salaries of OSOPADEC workers are paid from the 30 per cent derivation accruing to the commission.
“The Accountant General said there’s no cash backing, so we don’t know who’s not telling the truth. We are occupying the premises every day until our salaries are paid.”