From Aminu Dalhatu

Kaduna state government says it has paid over N13 billion naira out of the arrears of gratuity and death benefits that the state inherited from previous governments that remained unpaid from 2010.

Governor Nasiru Elrufai Stated this in a State Broadcast to thank the people of the state for their patience over the recent NLC strike especially on the assault on their rights, freedoms, and livelihoods over the previous four days.

According to Elrufai, Kaduna State was the first government, whether federal or state to start implementing the new minimum wage.

“we began paying the new wages with consequential adjustments that raised take home pay by up to 66%. Our 23 local government councils also complied”

Malam Nasiru Elrufai also stated that, the state government increased minimum pension to N30,000 monthly for retirees on defined benefits, saying that, it started a Contributory Pension Scheme in January 2017 for which the National Pension Commission ranks them as among the best performers in funding it.

“We are a state that believes in progress and development, and we will continue to prioritize this. We cannot continue to use 84% to 96% of our revenues to pay salaries of less than 1% of the population. The rest of our people, all 99% of them, need better schools, hospitals, water supply, roads, markets and support for agriculture to make a living outside government”

He gave an assurance that, the state government would uphold the oath of office to promote the welfare and progress of 10 million citizens, saying that government would not spend all or most it resources on the less than 100,000 persons that are public servants.

Governor Nasiru stressed that, everyone can see how the state urban renewal programme is changing Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan for the better.

He also further made clear that, the state government would rightsize the public service in the interest of the state, reduce the number of political appointees and civil servants.

“We are verifying personnel records to remove staff without the required qualifications or with fake qualifications. While we exit unqualified and poorly skilled people, we continue to recruit more teachers, health workers and other professionals for our agencies”

The governor who appreciated the calm response by citizens to the NLC’s unwarranted provocation, lawlessness, and denial of essential services, also thanked traditional, community and religious leaders who helped to manage the strong feelings of people against the needless pain imposed on them.

He however expressed state government’s regret and, sympathised with all it citizens for the denial of electricity for four days and the persistent attempt to disrupt normal life and prevent government offices, hospitals, banks, and other private businesses from functioning.

El Rufai pointed out that, the laws of the country do not allow anyone to shutdown essential services, stressing that, the right to strike does not include license to violate public and private facilities or to shut them down in any way.

He said Persons on strike can withdraw from the facilities where they are working, but they are not allowed to stop those facilities from functioning, nothing that, government would pursue accountability for the crimes that have been committed and seek remedies for the people of the state.

“We are in difficult times. Let no one pretend that we can manage the situation by not taking the required measures. We are honest enough to confront our challenges and not behave like the ostrich”

“I assure you that the Kaduna State Government will always put the people first”