Spokesman to the Kogi State Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, has described as “embarrassing falsehoods”, claims by a group under the auspices of the South South Council of Elders and Chiefs that the Governor is owing teachers in the state eighteen months salaries, saying the “sponsored group made a mess of logic and facts in its desperation to carry out a hatchet job on the Governor”.
He said the Kogi State Government has continued to pay salaries to civil servants who have been verified to be genuine civil servants.
“The State Government embarked on Staff Verification Exercise having discovered that billions of naira had gone into the hands of ghost workers and unintended pockets. Through the exercise, government has been able to save billions of naira which have been deployed to provide good roads, schools and hospitals to the people of the state.
“The workers owed salaries are those who were recently cleared by the Staff Screening Appeal Committee. After the first screening, government gave the affected workers the opportunity to prove their innocence. Many of them were able to provide relevant documents to prove they are genuine workers. They will all be paid their arrears before the end of the month. But those who have been cleared have received their salaries up till March 2017, with the April salary due for payment soon.
“The Kogi State Government is a responsible government that takes the welfare of workers seriously. Government is currently engineering holistic reforms of the civil service to make it more efficient and effective.
“The campaign of calumny, to which the South South Council of Elders subscribed was orchestrated to create falsehood outside the state by people who have lost out to the anti-corruption stand of the present administration in the state. They should have found out the facts before their embarrassing, ludicrous and unfounded allegations against the Kogi State Government”.
On the call on the EFCC to focus its searchlight on Kogi State, Fanwo said the State Government doesn’t wait on the EFCC before ensuring transparency and accountability.
“When we received the bailout, we published how we spent it, what we spent, for what and the balances. Recently, we called a stakeholders meeting of labour leaders and others to render account of what we have received since the inception of the administration and how we have spent our resources.
“We have silenced those who claimed we have not been paying salaries by publishing what we paid to each civil servants, month by month, from September 2015 (before the Governor was sworn in) to March 2017. The propaganda of the South South Council of Elders therefore was dead on arrival as facts out there have debunked their reckless claims”.
Fanwo urged those bent on distracting the Governor from his focus to stop wasting their precious time as, according to him, “the Governor would not be distracted from his lofty goals for Kogi State”.
“The Governor is already meeting his goals. He is working hard and he is focused. He is responding to the critics by building more roads, more schools and more hospitals. Despite the politicization of some labour unions in the state, government will remain loyal to its focus on development”.
He however said the State Government will continue to hold “genuine and credible” South South leaders in high esteem despite the failure of a “procured Council of Elders to defame the hugely popular Governor of Kogi State”.