The Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Ondo State on Monday warned the State government led by Governor Olusegun Mimiko not to divert the federal bailout meant to offset all outstanding workers' salaries and allowances into capital projects.
In a statement obtained by SaharaReporters and signed by TUC Chairman Sola Ekundayo and Secretary Fatuase Clement, the group said workers in the State were battle ready to monitor the spending of the fund. The federal government has previously distributed over N720 billion to assist the states in the payment of workers’ salaries following a collapse in the country’s economy.
In the statement, the TUC declared that its members (the majority of whom are workers) would never accept any decision by the State government to divert the funds for personal aggrandizement or into capital projects. “The Congress will not tolerate diversion of such fund into any capital project,” it said.
SaharaReporters gathered from sources in the Alagbaka government house in Akure that the bailout fund might be quickly diverted to pay contractors handling various public projects in the state.
On Friday, Mimiko’s Commissioner for Finance, Yele Ogundipe, lied at a press conference, denying that the State government received a bailout from the federal government to pay outstanding workers salary. Ogundipe later claimed that the State government only received N2.2 billion accrued to it from taxes as part of the June allocation from the federal account while local governments got N1.6 billion, bringing the total package to N3.8 billion.
“Our welfare must first and foremost be taken care of in terms of salaries and allowances because this is what can guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the state,” TUC’s statement read in part, noting that the fund’s crucial purpose of balancing backlogged pay would be a personal boon for each beneficiary.