Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, yesterday, asked security agencies to arrest leaders of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who on Monday expressed support for the proposed strike by local government workers over unpaid June and July salaries.
PDP, in a statement by its state Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Mas’d Adebimpe, alleged that the opposition party had been discovered to be in league with some other elements allegedly working to cause civil disobedience in the state.
The statement said: “Impeccable sources confirmed the clandestine mobilisation by the ACN leadership holding secret meeting with some groups suspected to be outspoken against the government of the day under the pretence that it was sympathising with the affected workers at local government who were yet to receive their salaries”.
State chairman of the ACN, Mr. Kayode Olawepo, had on Monday in a statement, expressed concern over the inability of the state to pay the council workers, arguing that there was no justification for the state to owe salaries when other states facing similar economic challenges are meeting up with their obligations to workers very month.
The ACN alleged that the non-payment of salary is just a symptom of “political deceit, endemic corruption and mindless economic sabotage championed by the PDP-led state government in active connivance with the party’s leadership”, adding that there could be no “reasonable” explanation for the habitual delay in the payment of salaries, a problem he said is unique to Kwara State.
The statement reads: “We support in its totality the action and resolution of the NULGE in Kwara State on the issues of salaries and welfare. There could be no reasonable explanation for the habitual delay or refusal to pay workers every month. But we are quick to point out that the non payment of salaries is just one of the symptoms of the political deceit, endemic corruption and mindless economic sabotage championed by the PDP-led state government in active connivance with the party’s leadership.
“If it is true that the problem is not restricted to Kwara, how come only Kwara State workers are perpetually in the news for not getting paid because the state government either did not pay the councils or has butchered the statutory allocation meant for local governments? While some state governments (non oil producing states for that matter) have paid August salaries, Kwara government has not paid many of its workers June and July salaries.
“There’s nothing on the ground to justify the state’s surging debt profile. We repeat our calls on the anti-graft agencies to vet the financial books of the state government. Their failure to act over the years is plunging our people deeper into abject poverty, despondency, and breeding youth restiveness. We urge our people to continue to speak up and be ready to enforce a change in Kwara beginning from next year’s local council poll where they (voters) should ensure that only persons capable of stopping the bleeding are elected.”
But the PDP said yesterday the support for industrial action against the local government administration without recourse to the sufferings and effects such industrial action would have on the vast majority of the people of the state was uncalled for on the part of the ACN.
Excerpt from the statement reads:“The PDP wishes to draw the attention of the general public to this dangerous move by ACN to cause more hardship for our people under the cover of playing politics. The PDP in the state, therefore, call on security agencies to, as a matter of urgency and in the interest of public peace and security of lives and property, apprehend the leadership of ACN with immediate effect.