Barley one week after the governorship election in Taraba State, the governor elect, Col. Agbu Kefas (rtd), and his boss, Governor Darius Ishaku, have engaged in war of words over the salary arrears of the civil servants in the state.
Agbu, in a statement made available to journalists, promised to clear all the salary arrears being owed by the administration of Governor Ishaku.
He pledged to pay the backlog of the arrears within 100 days in office after his inauguration on May 29, 2023.
But an angry Governor Ishaku responded immediately, saying his administration was not owing the civil servants any salary arrears to warrant the promise from the governor-elect.
In a statement signed by his special adviser on media and publicity, Bala Dan-Habu, the governor frowned at Agbu’s promise to clear salary arrears, noting that it not necessary since his administration had paid the civil salaries up to date.
Dan-Habu said, “The outgoing administration of Governor Darius Ishaku is not owing any group of workers in the state monthly salaries and, therefore, will not be leaving behind any burden arising from unpaid emoluments for the in-coming administration.
“This clarification became necessary following a press statement issued recently on behalf of the in-coming administration of Lt-Col Agbu Kefas (rtd), the governor-elect which contained a promise to pay salary arrears in its first 100 days.
“This veiled accusation is wrong and unnecessary. The Ishaku administration never toyed with the welfare of workers in its eight years of stewardship in the state.
“It had consistently paid their salaries since it assumed office in 2015, most of the time before the end of every month.
“We find this so-called promise to pay outstanding salary arrears made on behalf of the Governor-Elect not only misplaced but also misleading.
“It is also surprising coming from an in-coming administration widely known and regarded to be an offspring of the the present government of His Excellency, Arc Darius Ishaku, We think we needed to set the records straight, hence this rebuttal, Dan-Habu stated.
But when contacted, the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Peter Jediel, confirmed that local government workers were being owed six months’ salaries, while teachers had not been paid for four months by the Ishaku-led government.
“State workers have received their salaries to date but local government workers are owed for six months, primary school teachers four months, while over 1,000 pensioners are not in the a payroll,” he stated.