By Kennedy Ikantu Peretei.
When responsible governments are reeling out their achievements in the area of workers’ welfare on Workers’ Day, the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN has perfected plans to deduct from source, salaries of Ondo State workers purportedly to fund the State’s Security Network, popularly known as Amotekun.
This evil plan is not unconnected with accolades the governor had received from some quarters for his efforts at confronting herdsmen menace in the state through Amotekun Corps. As much as we are still unable to sleep with our two eyes closed, the Governor has been sunning himself in the vain glory of a conqueror and is about to stretch his luck too far.
Ondo State workers are the most pauperised and traumatised in South West Nigeria, despite being the only oil producing state in the region. Salaries are not paid as *and* when due, and when paid at all, only fractions are paid. As at the last count, some workers received November, 2021 salary in April, 2022. This in itself is bad enough. Yet, Mr. Governor can have the audacity and effrontery to contemplate increasing the agony experienced by workers in the state.
A circular stating how much is to be deducted from all grade levels showed clearly that, the Governor is outrightly insensitive to the suffering workers. That the workers have been reduced to beggars to meet their daily needs mean nothing to the Imperial Governor as long as his N600m monthly security vote is first charge from the monthly allocation to the state. It will not matter as long as workers in the state have not been turned to scavengers. They should be able to manage.
Apart from Medical Doctors and other health workers that quit the employment of the state on a daily basis, there are other workers that have had to relocate to neighbouring states in search of better offers. The State Specialist Hospital, Akure now *a teaching hospital* and other health facilities in the state have all become ghosts of their former selves, courtesy of inhuman conditions under which people work and unpaid salaries. To now expect that, workers will be further tasked under whatever guise is most unacceptable and ridiculous. Unfortunately, the leaders of Organised Labour Unions, NLC and TUC have been compromised. Hence, no resistance is expected from these quarters. The workers are definitely on their own.
Is it the case that government is unable to sustain the funding of the Amotekun security outfit or it is another ploy to syphon the limited resources in the state?
What exactly does the Governor spend his huge security vote on, if he has to depend on sacrifices from workers to provide security for the state? Is it the case that the economic and political Advisers of the Governor are already at their wit’s end that, they think the only thing left for them to do is to pounce on what is remaining of the workers’ salaries? That this policy has not been implemented for November, 2021 salary is not because government has had a rethink but simply because of some technicalities that boarder on computations.
The economy of Ondo state is powered by civil servants. It is this same class of persons that Akeredolu has treated with the highest level of disdain and callousness. We urge Akeredolu to be more frugal with handling of the finances of Ondo State, so as not to impoverish the workers further.
This series will continue shortly.