Former local government lawmakers and executives in Kwara State from 1999 to the present staged a peaceful protest against 16-year wage arrears.
Under the auspices of the Kwara State Ex-Councillors Forum, the aggrieved members petitioned Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to balance their unpaid entitlements.
Mr Fatai Adebayo, Chairman of the forum, stated during the demonstration in Ilorin that the current administration has yet to fulfil a commitment made three years ago on the subject.
While they acknowledged the state’s financial strains, they encouraged the governor to authorise and direct payment of their outstanding benefits for the years 1999-2002, 2004-2007, 2007-2010, and 2013-2016.
Additionally, the forum chairman urged the governor to make the payment in light of the forthcoming Eid celebrations and the return of their children to school.
“And if the money is made, the forum will be more thankful and dedicated to serve our communities and the government better,” Adebayo said.
“We are around 1,850 in number since 1999, and the arrears initially totaled over N3 billion, but past administrations repaid the debt in instalments.
“We have spoken with Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon Magaji Olawoyin, about the subject, but nothing has resulted yet. We are taking advantage of this occasion to reiterate our request that you consider us for payment. We are now anticipating a total of around N350 million.
“You may be interested to learn that this forum is the core of grass-roots politics, with a capacity of more than 70,000 voters in every election. However, despite our high and significant electoral importance, we have been ignored for the last three years due to our entitlements.
“While we commend the Governor for his attempts to alleviate poverty in the state, we are equally dissatisfied with his failure to solve our predicament.”
Aliyu Saifudeen, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, responded to the matter by pleading for patience.
“They have written to us, and we are aware, but these are backlogs from prior administrations,” he explained. Nobody has informed them that the government would not pay, but they should exercise greater patience in view of the government’s diminishing resources and recent salary hike.
“They have the right to demonstrate, but this administration is not indifferent to the well-being of any of its inhabitants, and this is not an exception.”