Lokoja – Security operatives in Kogi state yesterday had hectic time as Staff of local government councils in the state staged massive protest over what the arbitrary removal of their names from the work force as result of the staff screening exercise conducted by the state government.
In Lokoja LG, many of the workers who went to check their names at the local government Secretariat along IBB road were shock when workers who have been taking salaries up to December last year found their names omitted from the cleared list while some could not find their names in both clear and unclear list. The situation sparked off spontaneous reaction across the three senatorial districts of the state, even as some council administrators could not paste the list of their councils. Council workers in Lokoja the state capital took to the only major road (IBB road ) in the state capital, barricaded the road with burning of tyres preventing vehicular movements for hours. Even the presence of security men at the venue of the incident could not help as the workers continued to vent their anger on the state government chanting anti-Bello’s slogans. Expressing disappointment over the screening, one of the council staff Mr Usman Nuhu said he had spent over twenty years in the council, wondered the criteria used in screening him out of service. He sad, “Dring the screening exercise I tendered my diploma certificate and I was screened without any problems, but now they are saying that I did not present PGD and Master Degree certificates which I have never even applied for. “Imagine people who do not know what civil service were brought to screen workers. Look at the mess they have created now. People who have been taking salaries till last December can not see their names now. How can they classified workers who have put in over twenty years in service as ghost workers. “The first list released last year, over 180 workers of the council were screened out, but today’s list over 400 staff of the local government were nowhere to be found. This exercise was in shamble and was not aimed at reforming the service as claimed by the government” Another staff of the council who spoke to newsmen at the Secretariat, Asmau Mohammed said since governor Bello took over the administration of the state almost one year now, she has never taken a dime as salary. Muhammed who said her name was on clear list but yet no salary was paid to her, described the exercise as a failed venture, alleged that the state government had already set the figure of workers at both state and local government who they will be paying salaries, as the screening exercise was just a formality to deceive the public. She called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on governor Yahaya Bello to do the needful to avoid plunging the state into an endless crises that will disrupt the existing peace in the state. Meanwhile, all the tertiary institutions in the state yesterday commenced their five days warning strike to expressed their displeasure over what they described as intensional removal of their colleagues from service. On a fact finding to the Kogi state polytechnic Lokoja by Vanguard revealed that offices and lecture rooms were under locked and key as sign of total compliance to the warning strike. All efforts to reach the council chairmen proved abortive, as their cell phones were switched off while the ALGON chairman was also not in his office