By Kalada Jumbo
Bayelsa State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has commended Governor Douye Diri for his financial support to councils in the state that has ensured prompt payment of workers salaries.
NULGE State President, Comrade Akpos Ekiegha, gave the commendation on Tuesday when the leadership of the union visited the governor in Government House, Yenagoa.
Comrade Ekiegha also said Bayelsa was first among equals in the practice of local government autonomy.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the NULGE leader as saying that local government workers in the state now enjoy the national minimum wage courtesy of Governor Diri’s prosperity government.
He said since inception of the Diri administration, backlog of promotion exercise and annual increment for local government workers have received speedy approval.
He also thanked the governor for releasing bailout funds to council chairmen due to poor federal allocation, which, according to him, has reduced the debt profile of some of the councils.
His words: “When a government has performed creditably to the extent of stabilising the system, it is only proper that we appreciate it.
“Since the prosperity government came on board, local government workers salaries have been paid promptly without borrowing from other sources.
“Also, it has implemented the national minimum wage for local government workers. It is only Bayelsa that has approved it across the country.
“This government has also approved monthly subvention of N200million for local government workers salary and for backlog of promotion exercise since 2016. And if we are talking about local government autonomy, Bayelsa already has it.”
Ekiegha also thanked the administration for improving the security situation in the state, particularly on the waterways where local government staff in riverine areas previously had some challenges.
While applauding Governor Diri for the numerous ongoing projects across the state, he appealed for official vehicles for his office and the union secretariat.
Responding, Senator Diri thanked the state NULGE leadership for putting the records straight on the misconception that state governments were misappropriating local government funds.
The governor stated that rather, his government has been painstakingly supporting the local government system to grow.
While appreciating the union for acknowledging the effort of his administration towards giving the state capital a facelift, the governor commended his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who supervises the councils, for doing a great job to reform local government administration in the state.
He said: “Let me thank you for putting the records straight. In Nigeria, there is a lot of misconception that states and governors are the ones feasting with local government funds. I’m happy you have said in Bayelsa that is not the case. Rather, in this state, the government supports the local governments to grow and develop.
“Also, we want to appreciate you for acknowledging the little effort the government is making in terms of development of our state. That is the spirit of this government. All we want is that we are united as a people and we all should contribute toward the infrastructure and human capital development of our state.
“Let me equally appreciate my deputy, who is in charge of local government and sports development in the state. Upon our assumption of office, there were certain policies and actions that he outlined and brought forward for my approval and I wasted no time in approving them.
“Those policies have actually worked well. That is why we are seeing the growth in our local government areas and that funds can be made available for infrastructure and capital development.”
Governor Diri, however, noted that there were still challenges in terms of fraudulent activities in the system, saying his administration was doing everything to change the narrative.
Categories: Bayelsa State