By Our Editorial Team
The most heinous and vicious crime any employer can commit against an employee is to deny him/her the wages due at the end of the month, two weeks, a week or after a day labor as the case may be, or as applicable under the prevailing laws of the land.
Such crime is even more condemnable and unacceptable, an affront on the people when it comes from politicians and other public office holders who hold such offices and carry out the functions of such positions including the payment of salaries, as in the case of state governors, only in trust for the people who elected them.
Written and unwritten conventions, natural justice and tenet of ethics/morality of every society in our civilized world demands that a worker should be entitled to his/her pay as agreed and in accordance with the labor laws of the land and that of the International Labour Organization (ILO) statute.
Even the primitive and stone age as well as feudal periods of yore were equally not exempted from giving workers or laborers as it was applicable their wages/dues.
Even slaves who labored for their masters were at the end of the day provided with food, clothing and accommodation in exchange for the services they rendered for their masters, including the fact that some later regained their freedom after completing their years of labor
It is however sad that for the past six months or thereabout, civil servants in Cross River State have consistently experienced delay in the payment of their salaries by the state government. This unwarranted delay deteriorated and became so pronounced from August to December, 2014.
In fact it is true that as at the time of writing this Editorial, workers under the state employment in the state, were yet to get the November salary, though some persons were said to have received alert for their November salary.
Cross River State Government headed by Senator Liyel Imoke has never offered any explanation beyond the usual and unconvincing anthem of “no money”, or that some other states who get more allocations to Cross River State equally owe workers’ arrears of salaries.
The Cross River State Government currently led by Senator Imoke should know that Cross Riverians as well as we in CrossRiverWatch seriously take exception to those flimsy excuses.
It should be noted that the non-payment or delay in the payment of salaries to civil servants in the state does not only affect the workers concerned but their immediate and extended family members as well as the commercial/business status of the state.
There is no doubting the fact that a single civil servant in Cross River State takes care of not less than 10 other persons who in turn influence the commercial activities of the state. Is there any wonder that this year’s Christmas in the state and Calabar in particular falls far from what has been obtainable in the previous years?
Again, many civil servants’ financial situation has been compounded as they have no alternative than to go to shylock money lenders to obtain loans at very frightening interest rates to pay school fees of their children, buy some items for the Christmas and settle other pressing family matters because the government refused to pay salaries as at when due.
It is a known fact that even when the money is paid as at when due, the Nigerian so-called national minimum wage is so meaningless that it barely takes care of feeding only for two weeks besides other family and social/religious commitments.
Equally, even for some who are now getting alert for their salary for the month of November between December 27th-30th, many civil servants who are servicing loans obtained from banks will go home empty-handed because those banks will deduct money for their loans re-payment for both the month of October and November, because it is already 28th of another month which is a due date to service the loans.
CrossRiverWatch and many concerned Cross Riverians would want Governor Imoke, the Accountant General of the state and other members of his Executive Council to as a matter of urgency mobilize resources and pay workers their salaries.
It is unacceptable that in this season of politicking when politicians are sharing rice, meat and other condiments and making merriment with news of huge sum of monies that were allegedly spent on lobbying party officials and the media after the PDP primaries, the state government is still unable to pay workers their due wages.
The workers have suffered enough and all the relevant agencies responsible for bringing this delayed salary night mare to an end must all move into action now and get the job done.
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