By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade paid the May salaries of civil servants in the state ahead of time yesterday.
At about 5:00 PM local time on Sunday, April 30, 2017, civil servants under the State Government payroll system began receiving alerts from their financial institutions that May salaries have been paid.
“I am yet to receive the alert but my wife has been paid, and I am not sure this is a good development because last year he did it and we did not receive June salaries early enough,” said Joshua Adah (not actual name), a civil servant.
May 1 is celebrated as Workers Day and in 2016, Ayade paid salaries while addressing the unions at the U. J Esuene stadium with the state chapter of the Nigeria Labor Congress bestowing on him “Most Labor Friendly Governor” award.
But, salaries for June were not paid on time and not on the 25th day of the month as he had earlier promised, civil servants recall; a situation which they do not want to experience, or at least some.
“This is fraud, what kind of thing is this? I hear it from colleagues although CRUTECH has not been paid but it is fraud! Paying people for work they did not do or are yet to do. It is fraud,” said a senior lecturer in the Cross River University of Technology who preferred anonymity.
For Juliana Ekeng (not actual name), the idea is noble but received with anxiety over the future.
“I can’t understand this man (Ayade), I won’t say I do not need the money, I do. But, when will he pay us June? Is it June 25th? Or do we wait till July? I prefer that 25th of every month arrangement as it enables me plan better and not this kind of thing where when he feels happy, he just orders payment,” she said.
The payment has drawn mixed reactions too from the political elites with his aides lauding the idea on social media while members of the opposition All Progressives Congress call for the payment of the two months arrears in salaries owed the local government employees and retirees who are owed pensions and gratuities.
But, a sponsored story from Government House Calabar quotes a joke from Ayade which read; “getting paid early is a good problem for the workers to have.
“He said he feels challenged only when he is able to pay salaries in the second week of every month,” the story read.
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