There was confusion at the secretariat of the Ibadan North East Local Government at Idi-ape on Thursday after uniformed policemen and their patrol vehicles stormed the area as workers staged protest over non-payment of their allowances.
The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Ibadan North East Local Government chapter, abandoned their offices and gathered on the premises to protest non-payment of the 2014 and 2015 leave bonuses and other allowances. It was the second day of the protest which started on Wednesday.
It was learnt that policemen were drafted in to prevent the angry workers from vandalizing government property or assault the Chairman, Mr Lekan Afuye.
Most of the offices were under lock and key while the angry workers gathered in front of the Chairman’s office.
NULGE Chairman at the council, Mr Femi Alaje, told reporters that the council was owing staff leave bonuses and disturbance allowances from 2014 but that the Chairman insisted on spending the little funds available on projects. He pointed out that the Chairman aggravated the situation when he walked out on workers at a Congress organized Thursday morning.
But Afuye described the demand of the workers as ‘ridiculous,’ saying that he could not use a paltry sum left in a huge sum received to pay allowances having used 85 per cent to pay salaries. He insisted on using the balance for capital projects, which he said, would bring benefits to people in the local government. He said he could not use all funds for salaries, adding that the council was owing only one month salary.
Afuye explained that the council was meant to serve every stakeholder in the council, not workers alone. He pointed out that since he was appointed six months ago, he has been spending his personal money on the few projects his administration undertook in the local government.
When he received the huge sum, Afuye said he chose to pay salaries to ensure that workers welfare is not hindered. But he insisted that the workers were asking for too much, and not showing understanding for demanding the allowances that may gulp the 15 percent balance.
He called on the workers to return to their duty post and allow him to render service to the people in the kcal government.
Afuye also disclosed that his administration involved the workers in efforts to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the council, stressing that all arrears would be cleared as soon as finances improved.
As policemen took over the premises with both parties sticking to their guns, the two leaders eventually signaled intention to dialogue and shift ground where necessary.