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Thugs attack Kogi councils over non-implementation of NFIU directive

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Suspected political thugs yesterday attacked some leaders of Adavi Council chapter of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWU) in Kogi State, leaving them with various degrees of injuries.

They were protesting against non-implementation of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) directive and the council’s refusal to pay salaries.

The union’s congress earlier scheduled to hold yesterday to discuss non-payment of salaries despite release of allocations to the councils, was disrupted due to alleged orders of Adavi Local Government Administrator, Joseph Salami.

The thugs who were armed with sticks and horsewhips injured some union leaders including Chairman of Adavi NULGE chapter, Comrade Muhammed Yakubu Isah.

Responding to the incident, Isah described the attack as embarrassing, saying the union had passed a circular to suspend the congress in line with Salami’s directive before the attack.

Isah, who said the union had reported the matter to the Adavi Divisional Police, urged those in leadership positions to rule with the fear of God, adding that the union meant no harm as the officials have the right to hold meetings on their welfare.

Also, employees of Okehi Local Government Area were earlier chased out of their offices by suspected political thugs.

They were armed with guns, cutlasses and sticks and shot sporadically, while shouting: “Where are the NULGE people” and “which nonsense congress are they holding in the secretariat.”

Speaking on the incident, the Okehi NULGE branch Chairman, Yakubu Suleiman Achimogu and his MHWU counterpart, Ohuei Emmanuel, expressed shock over the attack and disruption of the congress organised to brief workers on what was delaying payment of their salaries.

Meanwhile, worried by the inability to access local government funds as a result of the result recent policy of the NFIU, the Cross River State Government is seeking a N5b loan.

Already, 2018 reports of Economic Confidential had put the state’s foreign and domestic debts at N235.9b of which foreign debt amounted to $276.2m, as local debt hit N167.9b.

However, principal officers of councils in the state have rejected the state government’s directive to tamper with Federal Allocations contrary to NFIU’s directive.

Consequently, Governor Ben Ayade had transmitted a letter dated July 5, 2019 to Speaker, state House of Assembly and read yesterday by Clerk of the House, Bassey Ekpenyong, seeking approval to obtain N5b loan from First Bank of Nigeria with 18 per cent interest and payable within 24 months.

Reacting to the development, Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Clarkson Otu, who promised to get back to The Guardian for details, however, wondered why government was borrowing money to pay pensions, which is a monthly thing.

“Does that mean he will be borrowing every month to pay pension? He has not even paid gratuity, which stands at over N30b. I can not understand this and it unfortunate,” he said.


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