The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has alleged that the directive issued by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, for the commencement of fresh government bio-metric exercise for workers and pensioners in the state is a ploy to punish them through delayed and denied salary payments.
The APC made this allegation in a statement signed and issued by the Rivers State Publicity Secretary, Warisenibo Chris Finebone, on Sunday.
According to the Party, Governor Wike prefered lavishing state resources on purchasing judgments across courts in Nigeria, especially on behalf of the PDP and bribing staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to keep his dreams of becoming Nigeria’s Vice-President alive, rather than pay workers and pensioners their well-deserved salaries and pensions which he owed for several months.
It called on Wike to use the Paris-London Club loan refund to pay workers and pensioners their deserved wages, stressing that the harsh antagonism repeatedly shown by the governor to them and their leadership was uncalled for.
The statement reads: “the Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, vehemently condemns the recent outburst by the governor to commence fresh bio-metric exercise for workers in the employ of Rivers State Government under the pretext of fishing out ghost workers.
“The APC is deeply worried that Governor Nyesom Wike has decided to visit Rivers State civil servants and pensioners with an undeserving draconian and scorched-earth policy of endless bio-metric exercises just to delay and sometimes deny the workers and retirees their due wages.
“We recall that several workers and pensioners are still reeling under the excruciating pains of being owed several months of salaries and wages which the Wike government claims is due to endless biometric exercises.
“APC believes that the real intension of the governor is to punish workers and pensioners through delayed and oftentimes denied salary payments for protecting their rights.
“We know that the governor prefers to use the money meant to pay workers salaries for his own ego trips that include travelling with retinue of aides and acolytes to Spain to watch Real Madrid football matches or embark on endless trips to the Caliphate in search of his dream Vice Presidential ambition which he believes is tucked away under the imperial seat of the Sultan.
“Yet still, rather than pay workers and pensioners, Gov. Wike would rather prefer to lavish Rivers money on purchasing judgments across courts in Nigeria especially on behalf of the PDP. Those Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, staff he allegedly splashed N360m bribe on for the last rerun elections are still having their day in court.
“We recall that President Muhammadu Buhari did express his deep concern about the fate of workers across Nigeria who were reeling under none payment of salaries hence he fast-tracked the refund of the Paris Loan payments to states.
“In doing so, Mr. President pleaded that the governors should use such refunds to pay salaries of workers and pensioners.
“Rather than buy into the lofty compassionate vision of Mr. President, Gov. Wike has rather decided to put the humongous refunds that have come to Rivers State into undertaking frivolous self-aggrandising programmes in politics than deploy it into effective governance and upliftment of the standard of living of Rivers people.
“The APC calls on Gov. Nyesom Wike to listen to the plea of President Buhari by using the Paris Loan refund to pay workers and pensioners their deserved wages. The harsh antagonism repeatedly shown by the governor to workers, pensioners and their leadership is uncalled for. Workers and retirees deserve their pay.
“With particular regard to the fate of pensioners, Gov. Wike should realise that he will have a thing or two to explain to God because some of these ailing senior citizens are already dying due to their inability to buy food and medicine for themselves.”