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Edo council chairman, workers on warpath over unpaid salaries

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By Nosa Akenzua, Benin

Employees of Orhionmwon local government council of Edo state and their executive chairman, Mr Sylvester Okoro are allegedly on war path over nine months of unpaid salary arrears.

The aggrieved workers who accused Mr Okoro of negligence, have threatened to down tools if their unpaid salaries were not addressed in two weeks.

Spokesman for the aggrieved workers at the council, Mr Lawson Imade who spoke to our correspondent lamented that life had been become unbearable for them as workers since the salary crisis started. He further disclosed that efforts to persuade the council chairman and his cabinet to pay salaries and other allowances had fallen on deaf ears despite huge allocations from the federal account internally generated revenue, among others.

They begged the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and the Edo State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr Marcus Onobun to come to their aid and rescue them from the hands of the council chairman. “Some of our Colleagues have become homeless, others are bed ridden owing to lack of funds to offset their medical bills.’

But reacting to the workers’ allegations, the Council boss, Mr Sylvester Okoro said that though he was owing the staff, the period is not up to the nine months they are claiming. He claimed that the protesting workers were out to discredit the council that his administration had achieved nothing.

Okoro said that the issue of salary was not peculiar to Orhionmwon local government council but cuts across the 18 local government areas of the state and however blamed a heavy teachers’ salary for the difficulty in paying council workers.

Meanwhile, going by records emanating from the office of the Edo state ministry of local government and community affairs, the 18 elected local government chairmen and their councillors seem to have completed their tenure in office as the state government has directed them to hand over the administration of the councils to the highest-ranking civil servants in their various councils.

Functional permeant secretary of state ministry of local government and community affairs, Princess Jos Bazuaye in a statement said: “I am directed to refer to the subject and request that all local government council chairmen are to hand over the administration of the 18 local government councils to respective head of local government administration in their various local government latest by Friday the 5th March 2021.”

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