Salary Arrears: NULGE Intensifies Anti-Okowa Protest
For about three hours, Local Government Workers in Delta State under the auspices of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE on Wednesday May 24 marched through major streets of Warri in protest against over 12 months salary arrears owed them as a result of perceived over-deduction of their monthly federal allocations by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration for the payment of primary school staff.
XCLUSIVE MAGAZINE Correspondent reports that the protesting Local Government workers who came out in thousands, with most of them clad in black apparel, caused traffic congestion as they walk from the Warri South Council Main Secretariat in Warri Sapele Road to Warri Main Market, Okere Road, enroute Ajamimogha via Okere Market Square, Angle Park, Ogunu Road, Eagle Roundabout, NPA Expressway Bye-Pass, the NPA Old Port and back to the Warri South Council Main Secretariat.
The 25 Local Government staff led by the Delta State NULGE President, Comrade Ziko Okwudi held leaves and placards, chanting anti Okowa songs.
Some of the placards read thus; “NULGE Delta State Says No To Anything Less Than 100 Percent Salary for Local Government Workers”, “Enough is Enough, Delta State Government Should Pay Local Government Workers’ Salaries” and “Delta State Should Stop Treating Local Government Workers As Third Class Citizens In The Distribution Of The Common Wealth Of The State”.
It remains to be seen if the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa will yield to the demands of the Local Government Workers after several comments from the governor that his administration is not owing workers in the State, even as the money shared at FAAC Tuesday May 23 at Abuja shrank to N415 billion, an amount which is about N50 billion less than what was shared at FAAC in the previous month. Dr. Okowa used 81 percent of the allocation due to Local Government Councils in the State from the previous FAAC to pay primary school staff, leaving a paltry 19 percent which the Local Government Workers’ Union vehemently rejected.
It would be recalled that the Okowa administration which has left the funding of primary school education in Delta State solely on the shoulders of Local Government Councils had on assumption of office, stopped the N600 million used monthly by the Ibori and Uduaghan administrations to augment Local Government share of federal allocations.
Addressing the Local Government Workers at the Warri South Council Main Secretariat, the Delta State NULGE President, Comrade Ziko Okwudi, declared that they are not fighting anyone, but demanding for the payment of their huge salary arrears by the Delta State Government, warning that failure to do so at the end of the grand finale of the protest slated for Asaba next week will result to a full scale industrial action.