From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
The Benue state House of Assembly yesterday took the bull by the horn on the issue unpaid salaries of workers in the state by summoning the Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu led committee to appear before it on October 4th.
The committee is to avail the House of its interim report even as organized labour in the State is scheduled to commence indefinite strike on Tuesday October 3rd.
The assembly at its sitting while deliberating on a motion of urgent public importance raised by the majority leader, Barr. Benjamin Adanyi directed the Benue state government to forward reports from the Prince Mkpan’s consultancy on the automatic finger print identification as well as Mr Tertseagh Ikyaabo staff verification exercise within one week for scrutiny.
The House which is scheduled to hold an extraordinary joint session with the organise labour in the state tomorrow, with a view to looking into the teething problem of nonpayment of salaries, pension and gratuity.
The House also summoned the State Commissioner for Finance, David Olofu to appear on the 5th of October to explain the motive and the extent of the implementation of the state of emergency on salary declared five months ago.
Commenting on the issue, a member representing Katsina-Ala East constituency Dr Ianna Jato regretted that the declaration of state of emergency on salaries by Governor Samuel Ortom has remained ineffective as he failed to deal with the issue.
While Baba Otache representing Apa state constituency frowned at the current wage bill of over 7.4 billion of the state, despite retirement and death of several civil servants. as ‘outrageous’ and ‘uncalled’ for.
Speaker of the House, Terkimbi Ikyange appealed for maximum cooperation from civil servants in the state to enable them uncover what he described as a ‘cabal’ in the civil service who are responsible for the rising wage bill of the State.