Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum on Monday 18th January 2021 received Secretaries to Governments of the 19 Northern States on a day primary school teachers took their beef against him a notch higher by sending poor primary school pupils in public schools home over unpaid salaries.
Secretary to the Government of Kaduna State Alhaji Balarabe Abbas Lawal who led the delegation said they were in the State for a meeting to review some of the pending issues of the Northern Governors Forum including reports that have been pending for many years.
According to him, the Secretaries who are meeting at the instance of the Governors will during the meeting look at reports on security, economic development,education, health, investment, youth employment and others which are critical to the progress of the region.
Lalong has been on warpath with local government workers, most of who are teachers of primary schools, who insist he is not paying them the agreed N30,000 per month minimum wage.
Lalong maintains that since they are local council employees, it is not the responsibility of the state government to fix or pay employees of the third tier of government.
Reiterating the Governor’s position, his Commissioner for Information, Mr. Dan Manjang, wrote last week, “For over a month now, employees of Local Governments in Plateau State have embarked on protests, barricading the entrance of the Joseph Gomwalk Secretariat, blocking roads and causing untold hardship to the public as well as harassing Government officials by calling them names, threatening them and their families.
“All this has been under the guise that the State Government has not implemented the N30,000 minimum wage negotiated and passed into law the Federal Government. This is totally incorrect as the State Government has since October 2020, commenced the implementation of the 30 thousand new minimum wage to its employees. Local Government employees on the other hand are yet to reach an agreement with their employers (Local Government Councils).”
Meanwhile, Secretary to the Government of Kaduna State Alhaji Balarabe Abbas Lawal told Lalong during the visit of State Secretaries, said the issue of a Commercial Bank with controlling shares from the region which has been on table for a long time despite financial commitments by some member States needs to be resolved as soon as possible to ginger economic revival of the region.
He commended Governor Lalong for his proactive leadership style which has focused on key issues bothering the region.
Responding, Governor Lalong appreciated the support of the Secretaries to the various Northern States for their service and sacrifices to the growth of the region.
He said the Forum was looking forward to the outcome of the meeting which will form its agenda for the next meeting scheduled for the first quarter of this year.
On the fortunes of the New Nigerian Newspapers, the Governor disclosed that the Federal Government has finally approved the payment of all outstanding salaries of all the workers. This he said will enable a final decision to be taken on the future of one of the oldest newspaper in the country.
Lalong said “As Governors of the region, we are well aware of the challenges we face related to security, economy, education, health, agriculture, employment and infrastructure among others. While we individually address these challenges within our various States, we also realise that working together will give us faster and better results. If we do not work in synergy and collaboration with one another, it will be difficult to tackle issues of insecurity which manifest in insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, violent clashes and attacks of innocent persons”.
The Governor also asked them to look into the issue of the almajiri phenomenon which the Forum has resolved to address once and for all.