Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has exonerated
the state government from the failure of the local
government councils to pay the salaries of their workers,
saying that it cannot be responsible for their woes.
Oshiomhole stated this during a meeting with the
national leadership of the Nigerian Union of Local
Government Employees, led by its President, Ibrahim
Khaleen, at the Government House in Benin on Thursday.
Oshiomhole said the state government was not
responsible for the failure of local government authorities
to pay their workers.
He said he had met the monthly wage obligation to the
state workers, stressing that local governments’ workers
must be paid by their respective councils.
Hundreds of local government employees had on
Wednesday grounded the state capital during a mass
protest over their unpaid salary arrears ranging from two
to three months.
The protest, which drew aggrieved NULGE members from
the 18 local government councils, left one of the workers
dead, after he slumped during the demonstration.
The governor said that the councils had their autonomy
and, as such, would not have their workers’
remuneration catered for by tax payers’ money collected
by the state government.
He explained, “I want to say it clearly that the Edo State
Government does not have the responsibility of paying
the salaries of local governments. I am not and I will not
collect taxes from people to pay local governments’
workers. I don’t know what they do in other states.
“But in Edo State, we respect the full autonomy of local
governments and this autonomy goes with responsibility.
I challenge your union leaders to show any evidence to
the contrary. Under the previous administration, the
revenue of local governments was being spent on their
behalf by the state government.
“They even bought second-hand tractors at an inflated
price and distributed to local governments and deducted
the money from local government funds; that was what
the PDP was doing. The union in Edo State did not raise
“Just last week, the traditional rulers in Esanland said
the best the then government did for them was to give
them a loan of N500,000 to buy cars at that time and
they deducted the money from local governments’ funds;
the union leaders did not raise a voice.”
Some members of NULGE had criticised the governor for
claiming that his administration did not owe civil
servants in the state.
But Oshiomhole said, “I read a communiqué in which
they accused me of saying Edo State workers are being
paid; correct. Edo State Government’s workers are paid.
Local governments’ workers are not Edo State
Government’s workers; they are local governments’
“Once I do not touch your money, you cannot hold me
responsible for your woes. You are there as union leaders;
you see your money being diverted, so, you have a
responsibility to watch and ensure that the money of
local governments is managed judiciously for the benefit
of local governments.”
Earlier, the NULGE president had explained that he and
other officials of union were in the state to support the
agitation of their members, who had been subjected to
hardship due to the non-payment of their salaries.
Ibrahim added, “Our members are angry; our members
are hungry and you know a hungry man is an angry
man. The truth of the matter is that we are here to
support the unpaid, hungry local governments’ workers
of Edo State and we know that something is going to be
done about it.”