According to reports, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has urged state governors in Nigeria to emulate President Muhammadu Buhari by cutting down wasteful spending to save money to pay their workers.
It accused governors of extravagant spending, greed, living opulent and ostentatious lifestyles and embarking on white elephant projects and the appointment of too many aides which have left their states impoverished.
NLC Deputy President, Peters Adeyemi, made the call in Ado Ekiti on Thursday shortly after he led a delegation from the National Secretariat to hold talks with labour unions in Ekiti State on the arrears of salaries owed workers and the pensions and gratuities owed retirees.
He described the visit of the NLC chiefs to Ekiti as a “fact-finding” one saying the delegation had discovered that the state government had paid workers’ salaries up to April, pensioners had been paid up to March while gratuities were last paid in 2012.
Adeyemi said Buhari has shown the way to reduce the high cost of governance by offering to sell some aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet, charging governors to follow suit by taking steps to reduce the cost of governance in their respective states.
He promised that the NLC would soon convoke a National Executive Council, NEC, meeting to take a drastic decision against state governments still owing workers and pensioners arrears of legitimate benefits a situation he described as “unacceptable”.
Adeyemi regretted a situation where about 27 states in Nigeria are owing their workers arrears of salaries, warning the governments concerned to do something urgent about the situation and pay worker without further delay.
The labour leader said: “Buhari has started it with the plan to sell off some presidential jets; we have seen some world leaders traveling on commercial airlines and this is a lesson to our leaders to live within the available resources.
“Our leaders are too wasteful, our leaders are too ostentatious and they are very greedy and they don’t even care that the nation is going through a period of economic recession. I don’t know why our leaders cannot fly commercial planes rather than cruising on presidential jets.
“I also want to ask, why do our political leaders need large retinue of political aides and political almajiris and political hangers-on? They need to cut down on these over-bloated aides and make use of professionals on the ministries like permanent secretaries and directors to save costs.”
Adeyemi noted that the larger society is suffering from the failure of governors to pay workers which he said has affected landlords, traders in the market, transporters and other artisans who are recording low sales over the salary crisis.
“Until we address all the waste in the system, all these problems will persist,” Adeyemi said, asserting that labour will continue to hold governors accountable and make them pay salaries of workers.