Kwara StatE Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed has denied owing site workers salaries, describing the decision by Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project, SERAP, a rights advocacy group, to include him in a petition to the International Criminal Court, ICC, for alleged non-payment of salaries to workers as misdirected and an attempt to whip up sentiments on an issue of national concern. It would be recalled that Governor Ahmed is one of the 11 State Governors dragged to the ICC by the group over alleged failure to pay workers salaries among other emoluments. Reacting to the group’s petition, Governor Ahmed described it as baseless and lacking a foundation in fact as Kwara State is up to date in the payment of salaries to state civil servants and pensioners. Alhaji Ahmed stressed that SERAP may have been referring to the local government councils in the state, which receive separate allocations from the federal government and have varying degrees of staff and pension arrears. According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, the Kwara State Governor said that despite experiencing a drop in monthly allocation
from N3.2 billion to N800 million, the state government has sustained payment of its civil servants and pensioners through prudent management of resources and revenue reforms which have increased Internally Generated Revenue by more than 100 per cent in less than a year. Continuing, Dr. Ahmed said he is currently working with local government chairmen in the state to redress salary arrears at that tier of government through measures such as the proposed takeover of Junior Secondary School funding by the state to reduce the financial pressure on local governments. He, therefore, wondered why SERAP will refer an issue involving contractual obligation between a government and its workers to the ICC which deals with criminal matters and settles legal disputes submitted to it by sovereign states. The state governor pointed out that while the said LG pension and salary delays are unfortunate and painful, the issue is reflective of the financial gridlock currently confronting the country and is neither intentional nor criminal in nature. The Governor further dismissed the petition as selective for failing to reflect the federal government position that 27 states are currently unable to pay workers.

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