Workers in Benue State have rejected the composition of a committee set up by Governor Samuel Ortom to handle the disbursement of the N14.9bn Paris Club loan refund to the state.
Some of the workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed doubt in the ability of the panel to do justice to the funds disbursement.
The state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Godwin Anya, disagreed with the setting-up of a panel to disburse the funds.
He said, “There is no need for the constitution of a committee because the money has come and it should be disbursed accordingly. Government has the biggest problem of salary arrears and my candid advice is that it should use all of the money for salaries and pensions instead of dedicating only 80 per cent to salaries and pensions.
“At our level, we have communicated our position in writing that the committee should look into the money being disbursed accurately to avert unnecessary delays. I completely buy the idea of not setting up a committee because this money has come and it should be disbursed accordingly to local governments, teachers and the state.
“However, if the committee is genuine, and it is in the interest of workers, it should hasten the payment. We will not hesitate to mobilise against the committee if we suspect any shoddy deal.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the Benue State Governor, Mr. Terver Akase, justified the establishment of a committee for the disbursement of the Paris Club refund.
Akase said the reason was to ensure transparency and carry along all stakeholders in the process.
He explained that Governor Samuel Ortom’s decision to include the Benue State chapters of the NLC, Trade Union Congress and the Nigerian Union of Pensioners in the Benson Abounu-led committee was in compliance with the present administration’s policy of involving workers of the state in all matters affecting them.