Local government employees in Benue state whose names were expunged from the local government payment vouchers have protested to the State House of Assembly, demanding for reinstatement and payment of their salaries. The protesters who were in their numbers carried placards some of which read, ‘we are not ghost workers, ‘we were genuinely employed, ‘pay us our due’. The leader of the protesters, Emmanuel Iorlumum said they were duly employed by various local governments following approval given by the Benue State Government in 2011, adding that appointment letters were issued to them and they signed acceptance forms and submitted same to the Director General, Service and Administration of their respective councils. According to Iorlumum, the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affair staff verification also, captured them in its biometric verification in 2014.
“We have gone through series of screening throughout our stay in the local governments; therefore nobody should tag us as ghost workers. “We started receiving our monthly salaries from 2011. Even this present administration has continued with the payment right from its inception without complaints. Our bank statement and local government vouchers can attest to that. The Benson Abounu Emergency Committee on Salary Issues even captured the staff employed in 2011, “he explained. He decried the manner the Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Titus Zam on the 13th March, 2018 issued directives to the 23 local government chairmen to expunge their names on the various payment vouchers without stating their offence.
The protesters appealed to the Speaker to prevaiedl on the state government to rescind its decision and reinstate them. Responding, the Speaker, Hon. Terkimbir Ikyange frowned at the ambiguity that has shrouded payment of salary in the state, averring that the House is carrying out verification to ascertain the true position of the issue with a view to correcting the anomalies. It would be recalled that local government staff in the state are owed over 11 salaries.