THE Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has charged the State Governor, Nyesom Wike to pay Rivers civil servants and pensioners.
The APC’s charge is coming on the heels of the hint dropped by the governor at the weekend that he was going to conduct a new phase of biometric exercise for civil servants in the state.
The governor had while hosting the National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba said the last exercise was marred by irregularities alleging that a cabal among the civil servants sabotaged the exercise, adding that civil servants in the state do not come to work except during the payment of salaries.
But the APC in its response charged the governor to stop needless punishment of civil servants and pensioners and use the Paris Club Loan Refund fund to pay the suffering civil servants and pensioners.
The party in a press statement issued in Port Harcourt on Sunday and signed by its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone condemned the governor’s plans to commence a new round of the biometric exercise under the pretext of fishing out ghost workers.
“The APC is deeply worried that Governor Nyesom Wike has decided to visit Rivers State civil servants and pensioners with an undeserving draconian and scorched-earth policy of endless bio-metric exercises just to delay and sometimes deny the workers and retirees their due wages,” the release stated in part.
The APC recalled that several workers and pensioners were still under the being owed several months of salaries and wages which the Wike government claims is due to endless biometric exercises, alleging “the real intention of the governor is to punish workers and pensioners through delayed and oftentimes denied salary payments for protecting their rights.”
The APC went on, “We know that the governor prefers to use the money meant to pay workers’ salaries for his own ego trips that include travelling with retinue of aides and acolytes to Spain to watch Real Madrid football matches or embark on endless trips to the Caliphate in search of his dream Vice Presidential ambition which he believes is tucked away under the imperial seat of the Sultan.
“Yet, rather than pay workers and pensioners, Wike would prefer to lavish Rivers money on purchasing judgments across courts in Nigeria especially on behalf of the PDP. Those INEC staff he allegedly splashed N360m bribe on for the last rerun elections are still having their day in court.
“We recall that President Muhammadu Buhari did express his deep concern about the fate of workers across Nigeria who were reeling under none payment of salaries hence he fast-tracked the refund of the Paris Club Loan payments to states. In doing so, Mr President pleaded that the governors should use such refunds to pay salaries of workers and pensioners.
Rather than buy into the lofty compassionate vision of Mr President, Gov Wike has rather decided to put the humongous refunds that have come to Rivers State into undertaking frivolous self-aggrandising programmes in politics than deploy it into effective governance and upliftment of the standard of living of Rivers people.”
It therefore urged the governor to listen to the plea of President Buhari by using the Paris Club Loan refund to pay workers and pensioners their deserved wages saying that the harsh antagonism repeatedly shown by the governor to workers, pensioners and their leadership was uncalled for.