Staff of Kwande and Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas of Benue state yesterday staged protests, blocking the high way with borne fire, demanding the release of their salaries and arrears.
This is the fifth protest by various groups in the state in recent times, including pensioners since the release of bailout funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to clear salary arrears of state and local government workers.
The workers who are presently owed several months by the Samuel Ortom administration, and four months arrears from the last administration of Gabriel Suswam, took placards with different inscriptions; “give us our money”; “ Ortom we are tired of lies”, “pay us on the table not radio” among others and blocked the very busy Zaki-Biam-Ogoja road from Kwande and Katsina-Ala -Biam-Wukari from Katsina-Ala town chanting protests and war songs.
One of them who spoke to Nigerian Pilot on anonymity said they were angry with radio announcements that they have been paid the arrears of four months, lamenting that the development had pitched them against various interests.
She said, “We are surprised, you know when you are being owed salaries, you are bound to borrow. So, when the people you are owing hear that you have been paid, they’ll come for their money. People are harassing us following that fake announcement. We are planning to march to Makurdi tomorrow.”
It would be recalled that while pensioners protested last Monday over non-payment of their arrears, staff of Makurdi Local Government had also stormed the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs last Wednesday demanding the whereabouts of the money which government claimed to them on radio.
But the state Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu who addressed the aggrieved workers advised them to be patient as there was a speedy arrangement to credit money to their accounts.
“You were only impatient but I understand that a hungry man is an angry man. Before tomorrow (yesterday) you will all receive your salaries. We have so directed and are serious about it”.
When contacted, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Terungwa Igbe said he had urged the workers to be patient, saying he was on top of the situation and working in harmony with Governor Samuel Ortom to sort out the matter once and for all.

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