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Bayelsa fake pensioners in trouble -As governor Dickson sets up committees to verify retirees .Lawmaker uncovers ghost government schools, teachers

      Fake pensioners in Bayelsa state may be in trouble as Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has set up special committees to verify genuine retirees of the state over the worrisome alarming increasing rate of fraud in the state pension board.
Governor Henry seriake Dickson
  The committees are saddled with the responsibilities to go from community to community to identify genuine pensioners and pay them at the spot through the help of the traditional rulers and the CDCs of the respective communities who will identify them for payment.
  Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the state commissioner for Information and Orientation disclosed this at Kaiama Town, headquarters of Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area during the public service reforms town hall meeting held last Wednesday for the vicinity.
  The Information and Orientation Commissioner said that the state government spent N500millions monthly for the payment of pensioners, noting that some of them were people who have never worked in the civil service.
Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson
“But a lot of things have gone wrong in our public service. Some things you don’t want to say because it is very shameful. There are people who are collecting pensions today, but never work with the civil service.
Those are the things we are trying to address. The positive thing is that all of us are ready to support the public service reforms. Already the gains and benefits are beginning to show, “he stated.
  According to the commissioner the expectation by government that the wage bill of pensioners would reduce is a nightmare because immediately somebody dies before you know somebody’s name was inserted to replace thereby defrauding the state government.
  The commissioner who called on all Bayelsans, traditional rulers and the CDCs to assist in identifying genuine pensioners at their vicinities, asserted that the restoration government on inception to office in 2012 inherited a wage bill of about N6billion, a situation he described would have collapsed many local government councils in the state if not checked.
 He expressed pleasure that council’s staff salaries in the state are now regular sequel to the gains derived from the reforms in the councils.
 “Look at the salary wage bill reduction, the other day at Yenagoa local government council-N40Millions; the same thing here in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government council. That N40Million is going to people’s private pocket,” he averred.
  Iworiso-Markson said the ongoing reforms were not to witch hunt or sack any worker unless he or she involved themselves in ill-motivated tendencies to sack themselves.
  He commended the traditional rulers, politicians, the youths, women groups and workers among others for embracing the reforms and enjoined those who have genuine complains to submit it to the complain desk for immediate attention.
  Speaking at the forum also, the commissioner for local government administration Pastor Agatha Goma had said that before the public service reforms the wage bill for local government councils in the state was N1.3Billion as at 2015 but has reduced to N950Millions  under the ongoing reforms.
  She added that all Bank loans owed by councils have been paid thus paving way for regular payment of staff salaries in the council’s ofthe state.
   In his remarks the Chief Whip of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly Hon Tonye Emmanuel Issenah has enumerated the projects executed by the restoration government in Kaiama.
  The lawmaker unearths the existence of ghost schools, headmasters and teachers in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area where those involved in the fraudulent acts accumulated wealth for themselves.
Earlier in his address the Caretaker Chairman of Kolokuma/Opokuma local government council, Mr Wisdom Fafi had said before the reforms the wage bill of the council’s staff and teachers was N120Millions, but has now reduced to N80Millions sequel to the reforms.
According to him before the reforms the council’s wage bill for teachers was N60Millions but has now reduced to N37Millions while the council staff wage bill initially stand at N51millions but has reduced to N39Millions.
Personalities from different walks of life in the area spoke in support of the reform but King Okpotari Diongoli who supports the reforms also caution the state government to adhere strictly to the civil service rules by using the institutions to carry out the reforms.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state has presented a catalogue of demands to the state government for implementation during the last May Day Celebration.
Workers are optimistic that now that the state government has announced to recruit 1000 workers into the state civil service their requests should be given immediate attention devoid of further complains of paucity of funds.
NLC Catalogues of demands

The Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress in conjunction with the Trade Union Congress had enjoined the state government to consider as a matter of urgent to clear the backlog of salary arrears owed workers in the state with the federal allocation accruing to the state.
   The group also jointly called on the state government to commence without further delay implementation of incremental annual steps which was stop since 2013 under the present administration, describing the act as against the civil service rules as practice in Nigeria.
Comrade John Bipre Ndiomu

   The call was contained in the keynote address jointly presented by NLC and TUC recently to mark the 2018 Workers Day Celebration at Peace Park in Yenagoa, read by the Nigeria Labour Congress State Chairman, Comrade John Bipre Ndiomu.
   Also speaking on condition of anonymity, a cross-section of the workforce in the state who spoke to Global Overseer described the delay to implement incremental annual steps since 2013 as unconstitutional, unfair, oppressive and a ploy to under develop the workers in the state. The workers wondered why only Bayelsa state government would come up with such policies describing it as uncalled for.
   They lamented that since 2013 under the present administration, workers have been denied of their right to have access to huge sum of their lawful money which would have help them to meet up some of their financial challenges and called for change of heart.
  They also called on the state government to commence payment of promotion arrears which they said is right in the civil service which the present administration has been deliberating delaying to implement.
   According to them what workers in the state are passing through as aforementioned has not been practice in other states of the federation and therefore call for immediate implementation henceforth to give workers in the state a sense of belonging.
  The Nigeria Labour Congress in the state also demanded from the state government to ensure that the ongoing civil service reform in the state intended to reposition the public service for better productivity is carried out in line with the public service rules.
   Labour asserted emphatically, enjoining the state government not to terminate any worker wrongly placed at their points of engagement. Rather, the grade levels of such staff should be corrected and properly placed, adding that the reforms should be handled with utmost care.
   The labour body in the state under the visionary and pragmatic leadership of comrade Ndiomu further appealed to the state government to give further directive to pay workers salaries affected by the redeployment exercise to strengthen government workers relationship.
   He called on the state government to fund the public service training institute to carry out programme in the civil service to train and retraining of civil servants in the state year-in, year out, stressing that the gesture would  show its importance as the civil service remains the life wire of government policy drive.
   The Nigeria Labour Congress while commending the state government for setting up of a committee to revisit teachers that were wrongly retired as a result of physical verification exercise with a view to recalling the affected teachers, pleaded for release of January and February salaries of genuine staff. The body also appealed for release of February and March check-off dues from SUBEB, pointing out that it is illegal to with hold check off due as the money belongs to the workers.
  Comrade Ndiomu further appealed to the state government to pay the 18% minimum wage salary arrears to teachers and also to direct local government councils in the state to absorb teachers who have been cleared by the judicial panel of enquiry set up by the state government as councils refused to pay the affected teachers.
   Other demands by labour from the Bayelsa State government include payment of weigh-in allowances owed media workers in the state, payment of gratuity and death benefits to the affected persons, provision of infrastructure and to also ensure full accreditation and affiliation for Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education Sagbama, provision of infrastructure and ensure accreditation of programme at College of Health Technology Otuogidi to attract enrolment from other states as well as to constitute and inaugurate the governing council of the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality among others.
   Ndiomu on behalf labour commended the state governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson for performing the foundation laying ceremony for the Labour House in the state, describing the gesture as a clear manifestation of the love he had for the workforce in the state and his burning desire to improve on the working condition of the entire civil servants.
   The Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah, who represented his boss, Governor Seriake Dickson, commended the state workforce for their understanding during the trying times of recession, noting that the ongoing reforms and other policies are to improve the welfare of workers.
  He reaffirmed  the state government earlier pledge to pay two months’ salary arrears which was not feasible,  explaining that the finances of the state is yet to stabilize citing the recent shortfall of N700million in the monthly allocation, saying that the present administration will continue to give priority to workers welfare.
    The deputy Governor thanked the leadership of the organized labour in the state for their continuing support and solidarity and urged them to sustain the productive partnership.

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