Anxiety in Cross River over rumoured sack of civil servants
Anxiety has gripped the Cross River State Civil Service, as over 2,500 workers were rumoured to have been marked for sack by the Governor Ben Ayade administration.
Stoking the rumour was the suspension of September salary of some workers.
Governor Ayade had set a record in the country by paying the May 2019 salary on May 1, when other states were struggling to offset April salary.
Some of the workers hinted The Guardian of the rumour that the governor was planning to retrench workers employed by the deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, in 2017 and some that were hired during former Governor Liyel Imoke’s last days in office.
However, their fears were confirmed in the last week of September when salaries were paid exempting some workers.
The Guardian gathered that Ayade, the acclaimed ‘Salary Pay Master’, had earlier threatened to retrench some workers, as he had not been finding it easy since governors lost control of council funds from the federation account going by the new Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) guideline.
Some affected civil servants, who spoke to The Guardian under anonymity, expressed worry because they did not know their fate.
A teacher in one of the secondary schools said, “We don’t have any leadway yet. The only thing is that our salaries have not been paid. They have not actually told us the truth if they are sacking or verifying the appointments. We don’t have any concrete information for now.
“It is really telling us. Things are hard. There is no money and plans had been made for September salary, only for us to wake up to meet non-payment of salary and retrenchment rumour.”
But Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Christian Ita, however, denied that the government was planning to retrench workers.
“It is a rumour. If the government is doing anything like that, we will issue a statement to that effect.
“The chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Stephen Odey, has issued a statement denying that anything like that is happening,” Ita stated.
He referred to Odey’s statement that the governor approved 4,000 teachers, but some were dropped due to the state’s financial situation.
“We went through due process and employed 2,027 teachers, considering the poor financial situation of the state and they were captured on the payroll by the state civil service commission, making them substantive workers in the state. Nobody is talking of sacking them,” he added.