Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Over 9,000 restructured civil servants, including journalists, who were compulsorily retired by El-Rufai-led Kaduna state government, have decried nonpayment of their entitlements after one year and some days of forceful retirement.
The affected civil servants led by its chairman and secretary, Alan Audu and Ahmed Mua’zu, made the disclosure in Kaduna during a press conference on Thursday.
The journalists, who are numerous to mention, were retired from Kaduna state media corporation, KSMC, KSTV, and ministry of information that was collapsed at the inception of the current administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
Briefing journalists at NUJ secretariat Thursday, leader of the delegation said that “It is now one year and some days since when some of us the civil servants of Kaduna state, who are more than nine thousand, were compulsorily retired by the Kaduna State Government due to a policy initiated by the government to down size its work force; but till today, our entitlements have not been paid.
“It is better to make it clear here that we are not part of the primary school teachers or local government workers. We are from the different ministries and other MDAs of the state. We have no problem with policy if that is what the government feels it deem fit. Our own is when you take such a decision, pay us our due right.
“It is not our intention to just face the press for the fun of it to confront the government as we are good people of the state and the nation at large; we are also law abiding citizens. This press conference has become necessary due to the following reasons:-
“We have been made to suffer in the hand of the constituted authority that most of us are instrumental to the formation of its structure, as if this is the price we have to pay. We have come to believe that the future is not assured. Referring to the retirement letter given to us, which says, ‘You are accordingly retired from the Kaduna state civil service with immediate effect… all your entitlements in line with your condition of service will be paid to you accordingly.’ In view of this, we gladly accepted the retirement letters.
“Letters served to us were dated 27th December, 2017. Till this day, no single kobo is given to any one of us. I repeat, no single kobo given to any one of us; and we are over nine thousand staff. It is necessary to reiterate that the affected officers are officers, who have less than two years to retire.
“Majorities are either Directors or Deputy Directors, who have served for over thirty years and are already getting tired, and this treatment is matted to us. His Excellency may wish to call all of us in one place to see things for himself, as he always say he has paid everybody.
“We have been pressed to make this pronouncement as a result of the several pronouncements of His Excellency in the media that he has paid everybody. When he made such pronouncements, we become shock. However, if His Excellency is sure he has paid us through someone, then, that person is sabotaging his government. We advise that he reprimands that person. None of us of the more than nine thousand staff is given a kobo.
“As law abiding citizens, we followed the laid down processes prescribed by the law to get our entitlements. We began from June, 2018, but till date to no avail. First, we met the Head of Service on many occasions but we ended up with empty promises.
“Secondly, we saw the secretary to the government in the presence of the Head of Service, with two of her permanent secretaries and some of directors. This meeting was at the instance of Malam Uba Sani and Samuel Aruwan, who promised us within the next few clays we would be paid. It also came to be empty promises.
“At one time, we had a meeting with the permanent secretary ministry of finance in the office of the Head of Service, who made similar promise but nothing has changed. All these people are alive and, one day, they will all die and meet the Almighty Allah for judgment.
“Again, we were not tired. In December, we met the acting deputy governor, who is now the running mate of his Excellency, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who promised to see the Head of Service, the Director Pension Board and the pension administrators but nothing comes out of that. She is alive, and one day the will meet the Almighty.
“To inform the general public and with due respect to his Excellency, who has made several pronouncements in the media that all are paid, we now request His Excellency or any other person to reach to any of our pension administrators and find out if any of the over nine thousand officers, who have been compulsorily retired from the civil service of Kaduna state, is given a dime by the pension administrators as they always say they are waiting for His Excellency. This is our predicament.
“It may interest His Excellency to know that a sizeable number of our colleagues have died (may their souls rest in perfect peace, Amin); some are paralyzed, many are hypertensive. All these happen at sudden, no notice, no leakage and majority were not ready for the retirement and have no dime in their pockets; yet, the entitlements are not paid.
“We have begun to lose control of our families because we cannot feed them nor cloth them. We cannot pay their school fees just as we are like every other person. We have children in the primary schools, secondary schools and tertiary institutions. WAEC and NECO have started registration of potential candidates and our children are at home due to our inability to pay the charges.
“We will like to believe that situation of this nature is sending a wrong signal to the serving officers, who are still in the civil service. They are looking at what is happening to us with unease because such a predicament can befall any one of them, even though, they are paid their salaries as at when due. This situation of uncertainty will create lack of dedication and concentration; this may even lead to some unruly behaviors given the opportunity.
“At the end, we feel this is the medium we can lay our complain to his Excellency, having gone through all the steps we have taken to get our due right after serving the government for more than thirty years. This complains is a collective one, based on mandate from all our members as we have a forum in the three senatorial zones.
“We cannot write individually to complain as his Excellency asked if anyone has any, because it will not work seeing the personalities we met as it has been said earlier. All we are saying – no one single person among the re-structured staff has been paid a dime. We are requesting His Excellency to have the fear of Allah and have mercy on us and give to pay us our due right as it is not a privilege,” they said.