To address the problem of unpaid salaries to Area Council workers, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, yesterday released N1.6 billion bailout fund to chairmen of the six area councils to pay the January and February salary arrears to their workers.
This development is coming barely few days after members of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, NLUGE embarked on an indefinite strike to press home the demand for settlement of the salary arrears.
Speaking during the occasion, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye stated that the Area Councils, by constitutional provision are a third tier of government, which operate autonomously; hence the FCTA did not budget any money for them.
Dr. Ajakaiye however restated that the FCT Administration has structured the repayment plan for the bailout to be from the 10% statutory payment to the Area Councils from the FCTA’s Internally Generated Revenue.
In his address, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Mohammad Bello warned the chairmen not to use the money for politics. He expressed hope that such a situation will not repeat itself as his administration will be working very closely with the area council chairmen.
Statutory allocation will continue to shrink. It is our duty to ensure that funds are used for their direct purpose. Pay the workers their salaries with this bailout”, he stressed.
In appreciation, the Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Micah Jiba appreciated the Minister for the bailout and assured him of their cooperation by using the money to pay workers salaries.
For his part, Chairman, NLUGE, Tanko Shamdazhi also appreciated the gesture but reiterated that there were still outstanding pension remittances and amongst others, which needed to be paid.
He added that, the union would call off the strike when they received alerts confirming that their salaries have been paid.

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