Unpaid civil servants of insolvent states not able to pay their salaries say they are literally dying of hunger and feel worse than refugees in Maiduguri.
Wage arrears in debtor states have become a problem comparable to the refugee crisis in Maiduguri. Many of the civil servants say they can barely survive, and many even have lost their loved ones because they couldn’t afford any spending on their healthcare as even feeding their families has become difficult.
Those workers who haven’t been paid for many months had to seek some poorly-paid menial jobs after their primary work and to sell their property and borrow money from their friends and relatives.
The situation, many of the civil servants told our correspondents, has forced them to take up menial jobs and other jobs different from their primary assignments to make ends meet while some have taken to selling their property and begging from friends, family members and neighbours.
An employee of one of the local governments of Kwara state, Olesin Yekini, who, along with his colleagues, hasn’t been paid for five months says that he has never experienced such a type of financial difficulties before in his life, adding that many that to feed their families they had to borrow from cooperative societies, relatives, neighbours and friends. But now as the patience of deb-tees has run out, they can’t borrow anymore until they pay their debts and now it is still a question of when they will be paid. “To feed has become difficult,” – concluded Olesin Yekini, speaking to the press. “Hunger is killing us gradually.”
The situation is the same in Kogi state, where those employed in local government are owed more than a year’s salary – some of them not less than 14 months.
A worker of one of the local governments Kunle Ajadi told the press that he has already forgot what having lunch is because of the great financial difficulties he has to go through.
In Osun state, most civil servants haven’t seen their money for more than half a year. Ondo state owes its civil servants two months’ salaries – May and June. In Bauchi state employees are owed their April and July salaries. In Abia state government workers also have to face months of wage arrears. And in Oyo state, the local government workers still haven’t seen their money for the last two months while other civil servants in the state have been unpaid for the last three months.
Many of civil servants from those states confirm that the situation with wage arrears has become really critical for them.
The Nigeria Labour Congress has called an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the congress to address the crisis of unpaid salaries. The congress president, Ayuba Wabba, told the press, “we are not going to take it lightly with them [the governors of debtor-states]…We might take a national action on it, we will take the next line of action in the meeting.”
Many new state chief executives are suffering silently as their greedy godfathers or predecessors who helped them get to their present position left an empty treasury for them.
Most of the governors cannot speak up against them because of the roles played by their predecessors in helping them to power.