Plateau LG chairmen, councilors desert offices over unpaid 4 months salaries, allowances

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Lalong

Local government management committee chairmen and councilors in Plateau State are groaning over lack of funds and nonpayment of their four months salaries and allowances.
Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on some of the councils, including Pankshin on Thursday, showed that virtually all the 17 local government secretariats were empty and deserted and there were no official activities happening.
A council official, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN in Mangu Local Government Area that the situation had forced most of the council’s chairmen to desert their offices.
The official said that lack of fund had prevented the chairmen from operating and delivering development projects, programmes and services.
“Some of the chairmen have not stepped into their offices for some months now following the non-release of funds to them by the state government.
“Even when they come, it is probably to give directive or pick something in their offices and then disappear after.
“Since the suspension of some top council officials by the state government in mid January, things have not been going on well. What goes to the councils are just salaries of their staff, paid directly by the Finance Ministry.’’
“It’s like a hide and seek game; as we speak, our own Chairman, like many others, steps in and steps out only when there is something very important to attend to.
“We don’t know what exactly is happening; only the state government can tell us what is happening to the running of the councils.”
Mr Stephen Jings, the state Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), while confirming the situation, said the officials were worried about the non-payment of salaries and allowances.
“As we are speaking, there is nothing in the council account for the past four months; neither have l received my salary for four months.
“Since there are no funds to run the office, it is difficult to do anything. Have you been seeing me in office like before.”
The ALGON chairman said the council bosses were optimistic that one day things would change for the better, because what was coming from the Federation Account could only take care of salaries of workers.
Mr Daiyabu Gargak, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, who also confirmed the situation, blamed it on the prevailing economic recession and the inability of the councils to improve on their internal revenue generation.
“It’s unfortunate that we so found ourselves in this situation of lack of funds with which to carry out the social responsibilities expected of us.
“What comes to the LGAs from the Federation Account is so little that it can only accommodate salaries of the council staff with nothing left for development projects.
“Much as the government is concerned and so worried over the situation, it has been advising them (LGAs) to go all out to devise means of improving on their revenues to cushion the effect.”
Gargak, however, said that the traditional rulers had been getting their five per cent as stipulated by law.
“I don’t know why some people should say they are not being paid their allowances, he said.

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