Human rights group, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, has expressed concern over the inability of some states in Nigeria to pay workers salary for many months, saying the Nigerian government has failed in her responsibilities to the citizens.
The group out-going president, Comrade Sunny Enenuvwedia, who spoke on the theme “The Socio-economic Responsibility of Government to her Citizens”, at the group’s 2015 annual general meeting held in Lagos on Saturday, described as bad experience of the unpaid workers and pensioners in Nigeria, and tasked the President Buhari led-administration to be responsible to the citizens.
He said; “We have tasked the government to ensure the issues of energy, education, security as well as salary payment, are well addressed and these were also the promises made by the incumbent president of this country. We have given him a task that we don’t want any excuse that all these things must be done as he promised so that Nigerians can have a sigh of relief and if the new administration is not willing to be responsible, we will face them head-on.”
Also speaking at the conference, human rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, attributed the current situation of many state governments’ inability to pay salaries as a result of the extravagance of those in government.
“We arrived at this situation where many states cannot pay salary as a result of the profligacy of the Nigerian ruling class and the fact that all the wealth of the country is largely concentrated in Abuja. We have a situation and a very disorganized system where the federal government alone takes 52 percent of the national revenue.
“In addition to that, the governors have not monitored the revenue of the federation very well, particularly the federation account. The federal government puts what it likes on the federation account through the NNPC and the governors have not been able to ask questions and take decision.
“Many agencies of the government don’t even remit anything into the government account. On the part of the state governments, there is a lot of wastage and prodigality. How can you be sending people to Mecca and Jerusalem every year, spending billions of naira?”
Falana said some of the state governments spend billions of naira to celebrate Sallah and Christmas, asking: How do you then expect them to have money to pay workers’ salary with such wastage? I am sure they will be sensible now”, Falana enthused.
The guest speaker, Mr. Sylvester Odion, who spoke on the theme: “The socio Economic Responsibility of Government to her Citizens; The Experience of the Unpaid Workers and Pensioners in Nigeria”, reiterated that the government has failed in all her responsibilities to the citizens over the years, stressing that the condition of workers in Nigeria is bloody, woeful, insisting that many of the state governments are extravagant.
He said, “Many state governments travel abroad every weekend, wasting resources, how would they be able to pay salary? The excess crude oil account, which would have been used to bail out the states, has been squandered. Nigerian economy has been mismanaged; the minimum wage in Nigeria is now slave wage because it can’t put food on the table.”
To get out of the mess, the speaker said workers must rise up to their revolutionary role and form a political party that will take over government, adding that workers must shelve self interest and unite. Odion added that the consciousness of the working class must be built through education.

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