By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Kaduna State government on Monday, in yet another ‘cleansing exercise’ relieved the appointment of over 4,000 local government workers of its 23 LGs of the state.
Commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Alhaji Jaafaru Ibrahim Sani, confirmed the sacking of the 4,042 local government workers during a briefing in Government House yesterday.
He said the state government’s decision to downsize the workers was in effort to reduce what he called the “over bloated payroll” on the local governments’ administration, while ensuring that, its capacity to effectively deliver meaningful projects becomes realistic.
While stressing that the state government maintained 6,732 local government workers, Sani said 3,195 of the retrenched workers were already retired, while only 838 were being affected by the policy, adding that arrangement has been made to compensate the affected staff for one to 3 months’ payments.
He argued that the el-Rufai-led government was only trying to correct the mistakes made by the previous administration for unnecessarily recruiting of workers on friendship or political grounds, which according to him has prevented the local governments from executing tangible projects, since money allocated to it was spent on settling workers’ salaries.
He said, “Capacity of local governments to render effective service to the community was hampered, as most local governments, after receiving allocation to pay their staff, state government still has to augment the shortfall they normally experience.”
Sani however revealed that “Six local governments are existing on ‘life support,’ as they find it difficult and impossible to pay their workers’ salaries.
“Whereas, even the others that seem not in much critical condition, their capacity to execute meaningful development projects has been hampered.
“In Kaduna, only Birnin Gwari local government is healthy; the remaining are facing series of challenges. This is a situation where government at grassroots level finds it difficult to render services to its individuals. But with this policy, we are expecting that, by December, local governments will start doing meaningful projects.
“If we want to develop and make life meaningful, we must do what is right. At this circumstance, we felt that this government’s decision to downsize the local governments’ staff will help in improving the welfare of the people at the grassroots level,” he added.
But the spokesperson to the governor on media, Samuel Aruwan, refuted the allegations that, the sacking-spree embarked upon by the el-Rufai government was to witch-hunt antagonists to the government.
He said the government was only sanitizing the local governments and ensuring that redundant individuals in the system were eased out, in order to enable the local governments to prudently manage resources allocated to it.
According to him, “We just have people, who are just coming to collect salary without contributing nothing. This exercise has nothing to do with politics or witch-hunting; it was part of the promises made by this administration to restructure its workforce.
“We are trying to run local government in line with today’s reality. With this current policy, we will ensure that every local government judiciously makes use of their allocation,” he concluded.
It would be recalled that 22,000 teachers were disengaged recently from teaching – for failure to pass Primary Four competency test.