By Ushang Ewa
Staff of the Cross River Geographic Information Agency, CRGIA are currently been owed between 9 and 11 months salaries findings by CrossRiverWatch reveal.
Several SOS messages sent to CrossRiverWatch by staff shows that all may not be well despite claims by the state government that it pays salaries on time which earned incumbent Governor Ben Ayade the sobriquet; “Salary Master.”
And, a staff said this was the second cycle of accumulated salaries the Agency is suffering after that of 2016.
“This is a de javu of what happened last year,” a staff told CrossRiverWatch Wednesday, in Calabar on condition of anonymity.
The staff said “between January and August 2016, the staff were not paid a dime.
“However, there was an intervention and 13 months after, only 3 months salaries have been paid.”
The staff however failed to mention the months that they were paid.
Another staff in a message to CrossRiverWatch said that the situation had reduced staff in the Agency to a level where some were now squatting with colleagues, friends and relatives while their children were at home due to their inability to pay fees.
The message read: “It is sad to bring to your notice that in the past 13 months the staff have been paid for 3 months only.
“Most staff have relocated their families to the village because they can no longer afford to pay for accommodation and take care of their families, our children have been withdrawn from schools for 2 terms now and most of us now are squatting with friends and relatives.”
Adding that: “These and many more are our predicament and we hope and pray that you assist us intervene to save us from dying.”
But, not all staff of the Agency share the same fate as management staff and the political hierarchy are not being owed due to the salary payment structure.
Findings revealed that staff of the Agency do not have their pay information keyed into the central payroll system of the state as “A cheque is usually raised for that purpose after the payment of others,” said Eyo Eyo (not actual name) a staff in the office of the Accountant General of the state whose office is just a stone throw away from the Agency.
This was confirmed by another staff of the Agency whom in a message to CrossRiverWatch pleaded with Mr. Ayade to: “pay us our outstanding and include our names in the central payroll to avoid the situation of always applying for staff salaries just like the Management staff who are not been owed salaries for more than a month because their names are in the central payroll.”
Calls to the phone lines of the State’s Accountant General, Mr. Joseph Adie did not connect as at press time.
Also, calls to Icha Mbotor who often answers the phone when the number; 08035238993 which was listed as a customer care number for the Agency were not taken.
And, calls to the number: 08037258415 answered by Clement Oshaka did not connect.