Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has said he will pay all salary arrears of civil servants and clear the pension arrears of retirees before the end of 2017.
Bello also said he would commence prompt payment of salaries of workers in the state public service from January 2018.He made the promise on Saturday at the commemoration of the 110th birthday of the Odeyani-Anebira, Alhaji Audu Otonoku and his eight years on the throne as the Otonoku in Lokoja.
“As from January next year, we shall be paying all our cleared civil servants salaries as and when due.I want to appreciate God that good days are coming to the people of Kogi,” he said.
The governor traced the genesis of the delay in the payment of workers’ salaries to huge debts which he claimed his administration inherited from the immediate past administration.
According to him, the corruption in the state civil service and the need to restore sanity to the service also account for the delay.
Bello, represented by Mr Mumuni Okara, his Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said the state government had done a lot to restore discipline into the service.
He said the state government had increased the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N350 million monthly to N1.2 billion.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Finance, Idris Asiru, said the state government had discovered and eliminated from the payroll over 2,000 names of workers with fake certificates.
Asiru said the state government needed N30 billion to clear salaries and arrears of all workers that have been cleared.He said the governor had given him directive to source for fund for the payment, assuring the workers that he would carry out the governor’s directive.
Earlier, the Odeyani-Anebira commended Bello for his “giant strides in security, infrastructure development and civil service reform aimed at sanitising the service.”
The monarch also praised his title holders (Daudus) for maintaining peace and harmony among the Ebira living in Lokoja.He also lauded the executive council of Ebira Peoples Association (EPA) for its contribution toward the development of Ebiraland.
Odeya-Onebira was born to the ancient family of Otonoku of Adangara clan in 1907 and was installed on September 18, 2010 in Lokoja.
Reeling out his achievements, Otonoku said he had been able to foster unity among Ebira residents and maintained peaceful coexistence of the Ebiras with other ethnic groups in Lokoja.
He, however, called for building of a befitting palace for him and provision of vehicle befitting his status.Otonoku also called for the empowerment of Ebira women and youths to make them self-reliant.
Highpoints of the occasion were the conferment of chieftaincy titles on some prominent citizens of Ebiraland and citizens of other tribes.
Various groups displayed the rich cultural heritage of Ebiraland, among others.