From Austine Tule, Makurdi
The forum of former elected Councillors between 2017 and 2019 across the 23 Local Government Areas of Benue Benue State embarked on a peaceful protest on Tuesday in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, over non-payment of their entitlements.
Hon. Ikyor Titus Tongu who led the protest said they were demanding for the outstanding payment of six million, Nine Hundred and fifty four thousand, five hundred and Seventy-nine Naira, Eighty four Kobo ( N6, 954, 579.84) for each ex- Councillor as a shortfall of the actual renumeration due to them.
Permanent Commissioner, Local Government Service Commission Makurdi, Hon. Tsetim Ayargwer who addressed the former Lawmakers at the gate of the Commission on behalf of the Chairman, Dr Bem Meladu said, they were only charged with the responsibility to employ, discipline, transfer and promote Local Government staff. Although he stated that they were not responsible for payment of salaries, Hon. Ayargwer promised to convey the complaint to Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for for the desired attention.
Addressing the protesters at the gate of Secretary to the State Government, Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr Kenneth Achabo said, the state Government had made frantic efforts to pay salaries with the little available funds and certain payment would be made at the end of October, adding that it will be a continuous process pending availability of adequate resources as it was a global economic challenge.
Hon. Titus Ikyor who finally addressed the group at the gate of Government House Makurdi after they waited to be addressed by Governor Samuel Ortom to no avail said, he was invited by the Bureau Adviser, Hon. Achabo to meet with him and few EXCO members of the former Councillors forum on Wednesday for more deliberations and they already signed documents with the Adviser today with assurance that they will be included in next month allocation for payment.
He however threatened that if the promise is not fulfilled, they will resume the Protest.