Senator representing Kogi West senatorial zone at the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye has revealed that his state governor, Yahaya Bello has not paid workers in the state their salaries for 16 months.
Senator Melaye made this known while contributing to a motion sponsored by Senator Suleiman Mohammed Nazif representing Bauchi North on challenges facing Nigerian workers ahead of the 2017 Workers Day celebration.
Speaking on top of his voice, the controversial senator called for adequate monitoring of state governors on their usage of the bailout funds, noting that as his governor has not been able to pay workers their salaries with the bailout funds he has received, he can’t be trusted to pay them with funds he will receive.
“The first set of bailouts was given to governors. Again, a second set of bailouts was given to state governments. As if that was not enough, Paris Club refund was also released to state governments.”
“Salaries have not been paid for 16 months in my state.
“If these governors, including my governor, got bailout 1, bailout 2 and Paris refund 1, yet did not pay salaries; if they get the second tranche of the Paris Club refund, they will still not pay salaries. How do we then compel them to become responsible and responsive to the magnanimity shown by Mr. President? It is to make sure that we use our oversight responsibility and constitutional powers to direct the Federal Ministry of Finance to stop the second tranche of the Paris Club refund to state governors who have not paid salaries. The essence of these bailouts was actually to pay salaries, arrears and pensions.”
Senator Melaye’s argument was immediately backed by Senator Emmanuel Paulker representing Bayelsa central who noted that as the (Kogi) governor failed to use the bailout funds and Paris club refund for the purpose which it was meant for, the federal government should not give him the second tranche of that fund.
“The situation where bailouts were given for the singular purpose of paying workers’ salaries and they are diverted, I agree with Senator Dino that if particular governor has not used the money for that purpose, the federal government should not give the second tranche to that particular state. But in so doing, it is not the governor who will suffer; it is his workers who were intended to be helped who would suffer.”
Senator Melaye and Governor Bello have been at loggerheads.
The Senator has in in several occasions accused the governor of jeopardising the welfare of workers in the state, a group he claims to be fighting for.
Senator Melaye even pointed fingers at the governor after surviving an assassination attempt in his hometown recently, noting that the governor was trying to get at him for fighting for the state’s workers and pensioners.