Borno State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress has described as misleading, news spreading around that the governor is owing salaries, pensions, and gratuities are not being paid by Governor Kashim Shettima.
According to the NLC, Shettima deserves commendation because throughout his nearly eight years as governor, he has consistently paid workers’ salaries amounting to over N2bn monthly and he has been steady on payment of pensions while he releases additional N150 million monthly to gradually clear the backlog of gratuities accumulated for many years before he assumed office.
NLC Chairman in the state, Comrade Titus Abana said on Thursday that he was furious with a journalist who after interviewing him, completely changed the context of the interview for his own motive.
“I was shocked when I saw the report changing the entire context of my interview with the reporter. I have called him and asked him to come but he didn’t come. He completely changed the context of our interview.
“For instance, I told him that from 2011 to date, salaries of workers in Borno State have been consistently paid by Governor Kashim Shettima to the tune of over 2 billion naira despite the Boko Haram crisis.
“The journalist deliberately ignored that aspect. I also told him that the Governor has been consistent on payment of pensions except for instances of some pensioners affected by the verification exercise. That also, the journalist ignored.
“What the journalist was only interested in was where I told him that we have a backlog of N20b as arrears of gratuities and this accumulated over many years. I also told him that payment of the gratuities was stopped in 2013.
“But what I added and which the journalist again, deliberately ignored, was the fact that after our meeting with Governor Kashim Shettima, he has been releasing N150m every month for gratuities and that is already reducing the backlog.
“I also told the journalist that the Governor on his own promised to ensure that the entire N20b backlog was cleared before he leaves office, we are sure he will do that and we also call on him to remain consistent.
“The journalist for whatever motive changed the entire context and wrote all sort of things that I never said. If it is true Governor Shettima has not been paying salaries, pensions and gratuities, will the workers just fold their hands?
“We would definitely have led workers to industrial actions,” Abana said, stressing that, “The workers themselves would not have left us.
“That news written by the journalist is unfair to Governor Kashim Shettima given how the Governor has been so committed to paying salaries and pensions and also reducing arrears of gratuities. The report is unfortunate” Abana said.
He said he actually told the journalist that there were some pensioners who had challenges with receiving their pensions due to the complex verification exercise carried out by the governor to fish out ghost workers.
He said the NLC acknowledged that the state government was able to resolve a majority of cases amongst the pensioners affected while there was the need to resolve the few remaining.