May Day: Benue workers demand payment of outstanding wages

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

The chairman of the Benue Nigeria Labour Congress, Terungwa Igbe, requested that the state government pay all back wages and pensions owed to employees.

The Punch reported that Igbe, who bemoaned the state’s workers’ condition, made the plea at the state secretariat along Otukpo road rather than IBB square, where employees usually spend May Day.

He stated that the workers chose a low-key remembrance of the event due to massive outstanding wages owed by the state administration.

The NLC boss also urged that the retirement age for all workers be raised from 35 to 40 years of service and that the retirement age be raised to 65 years, rather than the current 60 years.

He stated, “At the local government level, teachers are owed, 11 months; workers were being owed 10 months arrears of salary. At the state level, workers are owed eight months and pensioners are owed 38 months respectively.”

Meanwhile, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has extended gratitude to state workers for their unwavering support and perseverance over the years.

Ortom said in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, “As we celebrate this year’s workers’ day, I sincerely express my solidarity and appreciation for the hardworking men and women of the Benue State civil servants who keep our economy running and our society functioning smoothly.

The past years have been challenging for all of us and I know that many of you have faced difficult circumstances and uncertainties in your workplaces like payment of salaries and other allowances. The situation has been worsened by insecurity in the state. Yet, you have had to adapt to new working conditions and navigate a rapidly changing economic landscape.

But through it all, you have persevered and shown incredible resilience. Your dedication and commitment to your jobs and our communities are an inspiration to us all.”

In his own goodwill greeting, Governor-Elect Dr Hyacinth Alia encouraged workers to continue to keep hope alive, noting that better days are just on the horizon.

The newly elected governor defined civil service as the powerhouse of every operational administration in a statement signed by his media adviser, Isaac Uzaan.

However, he regretted that the Benue civil service had deteriorated into a very epileptic state and was on the verge of collapsing due to an enormous accumulation of unpaid salaries, pensions, and gratuities.

Alia promised to infuse life into the civil service to keep it working. He said, “Our workers are the inspiration for all of us; their hard work and dedication motivate others to work for the growth and development of the state.”

The priest of God finally called on the people to honour the efforts and salute the hard work of Benue workers, saying without workers, no nation can walk the path of success and progress,” the statement stated in part.

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