•BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has urged Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state to pay all outstand pensions and gratuities before he leaves office in May.
Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri, the Chairman of NLC in Borno State, Comrade Titus Abana lamented that both pensioners at the state and local governments in the state are still owed N20 billion in gratuities and pensions.
Abana decried that the last time gratuity of retirees was paid in the state, was in 2013, lamenting that all efforts to impress it on the state government to pay workers and pensioners their entitlements on time were truncated and frustrated by some top government officials.
He said: “In spite of the release of a tranche of the Paris Club Refund, the state government has not paid the backlog of gratuity and pension being owed retirees.”
He has the governor to keep by his words, stressing that: “We met with the governor to push for these payments, he promised to do so before he leaves.
“He said he will not want his predecessor to inherit any burden from his government and promised he will pay all arrears of pension, gratuities accumulated by his government and the past government.”
The labour leader said: “We are reminding him to also pay the backlog of promotion arrears and leave grant of workers which has been pending for more than three years due to the biometric verification.”
He lamented that: “No worker has been paid any benefit in the last three years since the verification started..”
He said that the exercise has exposed many workers to untold frustration and hardship.
He decried that: “Many retirees have died untimely deaths due to frustration and hardship.”
Abana further appealed to the governor to allocate the state government’s 1,000 Legacy Housing Estate to the civil servant with a view to cushion accommodation problems of the state workforce and safe workers from the threats of landlords.
He said the workers are looking up to better times with the newly elected governor.
He said: “Workers expectations from the new administration of Professor Babagana Umara Zulum is very high, we hope that the new government will carry the civil servants along on board in all its plans and policies in order to succeed.”