Delta state Commissioner for Directorate of Local Government Affairs, Bright Edejehro, has accused past administrations of Mr. James Ibori and that of Mr. Emmanuel Uduaghan of over bloated workforce in the state adding that they never had the future of the state at heart.
“Previous governors that led the state refused to think about the future of the state, rather than over bloating the workforce at the local government level by employing every tom, dick and harry into the system. They were not looking at the future, they were not thinking of putting the right infrastructure in place. Across the country, Delta has the highest wage bill at the local government level. Our salary structure, is still the highest”
The Commissioner who lambasted the past governments in the state while playing host to members and leaders of the Indigenous Correspondents’ Chapel (ICC), of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council, recently in his office in Asaba, disclosed that the cartel at the local government council does what he called ‘over stepping’, a situation where salaries are over paid to some staff.
“They top salaries of local government workers. Some who receive N80, 000, are paid N280, 000 and the excess is returned to the cartel for sharing at the end of the month. A salary level grade 7 officer who works at the health department earn as high as N70, 000. Uvwie, Udu, Ughelli North, Isoko North and South and Sapele council areas have a wage bill ranging between N80 and N105 million, “so when the allocation comes, they can barely pay workers”, he lamented.
According to Mr. Edejehro, some local government councils in the state struggle to pay salaries due to over bloated workforce as the dwindling allocation has not been able to meet their huge salary structure, noting that some council areas are owing about three month salaries, “Warri North and Burutu councils are not owing because the few schools they have with a wage bill of about N24 million”.
While advocating for a slash in salary, Mr. Edejehro hinted, “Even the federal government slash workers’ salaries at tertiary institutions. Whatever is happening at the local government is the reality of the downward economy. The reasonable thing to do is to slash”.
He further argued that since 2015 when oil prices crashed, the federal government finds it difficult to finance its own projects, “not to talk about the state and the local government councils”.
Aligning with governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, Edejehro said, “It is not the duty of the state government to pay local government workers’ salaries, it can only assist if it is convenient”.
On the clock-in and clock-out system introduced into the local government area, he said some council workers who clocked in and go about their businesses would be checkmated, “we are going to device a means to stop it”.
However, some top management staff who were present at the event murmured behind that the Commissioner can’t stop it following failure of government to pay salaries as at when due.