Mr Udom Emmanuel, Governor, Akwa Ibom State (Photo credit : Government House)

Abasifreke Effiong – Uyo

The Nigerian Labour Congress in Akwa Ibom State has called on the state government to remove ‘spurious’ items including a N6.7 billion budget for worship centre from the 2021 Fiscal Bill of the state.

The Congress said removing spurious items will free up the budget and help the state save money for important items.

The call was made in a resolution containing a -13 point demand by the NLC.

Policy Alert, a non-governmental working on fiscal justice, had during a public hearing on the 2021 budget of the state noted that there were more than 200 “spurious, unmatched and vague” items in the budget of the state, if removed could save the state about N40 billion.

NLC in the resolution posted by her secretary, Comrade Iboro Ibara, says Congress completely aligned with the submission made by Policy Alert.

“During the public hearing of the State’s 2021 Appropriation Bill at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Complex, Policy Alert, an NGO working on fiscal justice submitted that removing unnecessary items in the proposed 2021 budget could save up to N40 billion for the State. The Akwa Ibom NLC aligns itself entirely with the submission of the respected organisation.”

NLC queries what it calls the ‘scandalous proposal’ of N6.7 billion for the completion of worship centre.

“The priorities of government, exemplified by the scandalous proposal in the 2021 budget for the expenditure of N6.7billion on an ‘International Worship Centre’ does not reflect the pursuit of social welfare for the citizens of the State.”

It would be recalled that Governor Udom Emmanuel said in 2018 that the international worship centre would be built through private funds from donations, and stressed that state government’s contributions towards the project would be just a “negligible sum.”

However, N6 billion was budgeted for the worship centre in 2019.

Meanwhile, NLC has in her 13 points demand urged the Akwa Ibom state government to stop paying consultant to process salaries of civil servants when millions of Naira had been spent on training of civil servants in the state for that purpose.

NLC called for the payment of all outstanding benefits including pension and gratuity and refund of 7.5 percent contributory pension to workers who did not get theirs.

“Considering the prevailing mood of the nation, and the tensions generated over the serial mis-governance which has continued to be the lot of the nation’s ordinary citizens, the NLC pleads with State Government to pull from its hardline posturing and address the issues contending for resolution as listed in Congress’ charter of demands. These include:”

“EndSalaryConsultant: An end to the privatization of the payroll via the use of highly expensive consultants.”


“Payment of the backlog of gratuities/terminal entitlements of (i) retired primary school teachers from 2010 till date (ii) retired staff of the unified Local Government Service from 2012 till date (iii) retired staff of the State civil service from 2016 till date (iv) next-of-kin of retired primary school teachers from 1989 till date.”

“Refund of 7.5% Contributory Pension deductions to primary school teachers and such other civil servants that did not get their refunds.”

“Immediate end to the encroachment by the Commissioner for Lands on land belonging to Organized Labour located at Ikpedip Ibiono/Ikot Ide Itak.”

“Payment of the December, 2019 arrears of Minimum Wage to all Workers and the January Minimum Wage arrears to primary school teachers who were not paid this component when others were paid.”

“Payment of (i) 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2019 Leave Grant of primary school teachers (ii) 2018, 2019 and 2020 Leave Grant of Local Government Service workers (iii) 2020 Leave Grant of State civil service employees.”

“Implementation of promotions and payment of accrued promotion arrears to all categories of civil servants in the State and stoppage of the obnoxious policy of “notional promotion” in the State civil service.”

“Harmonization of pensions for all retirees of the State and Local Government services in compliance with Section 210 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other extant laws.”

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“Revalidation of employment of 403 health workers of the Local Government service and others (non-health workers) who were delisted from the payroll in July, 2019.”

“Payment of outstanding salary (January 2020 till date) to workers of the Akwa Ibom State University.”

“Recall of the four (4) sacked labour leaders of Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company, Onna, amongst others.”

The NLC stressed that resolution of majority of issues mentioned in the charter of demand cannot be possible without the exit of the private consultant who has mismanaged the State’s payroll to the despair of workers.