Nigerian civil servants struggle to survive, beg for money, foodstuffs in many states

It was gathered that the Nigerian civil servants in Oyo, Osun, Cross River, Rivers, Abia, Benue, Plateau and Bauchi states have adopted different strategies to survive months of unpaid salaries in their states.

The strategies include begging for money from friends and relatives, securing loans from different sources and doing menial jobs to survive. Some state governments, especially those led by the opposition All Progressives Congress and the Federal Government have been trading blame over the unpaid salaries of workers. While the states attributed the development to the drop in federal allocations to them, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, accused them of not prioritising salary payments. In Oyo State, for instance, where the government has not paid salaries for three months, some civil servants skip their lunch daily.

A few others, it was gathered, however report to their duty posts with garri and groundnuts which serve as their lunch. One of them revealed at the state secretariat in Ibadan that the state government gave them reasons for the non-payment of their salaries.

He said, “My colleagues are not happy because of the situation. Some of them now skip lunch break because they have no means to observe it. “I have seen some junior workers taking garri and groundnuts as lunch. We have been told that dwindling allocation from the Federal Government was responsible for the salary delay. We hope for a change when(Muhammadu) Buhari takes over.

” A vice-principal in one of the secondary schools in Ibadan also told one of newsmen that it had become a habit for some teachers to ask him for money every day. He said, “My teachers come to me for money every day but I don’t have enough to give to them. I rely on my wife’s business to keep my home running.I have three children in tertiary institutions and one of them is now at home. “We only hope that the Federal Government will sort out whatever the problem is and increase what the states get as allocations.”

A secondary school teacher also lamented the development, saying that some of her colleagues who have cars no longer drive them to school. She said, “Those of us who do not have cars used to rely on our senior colleagues who have to take us to our nearest bus stops. But now, we walk to the bus stops because they no longer bring their cars to school due to the high cost of fuel.” A non-teaching staff in one of the schools in the city, said he had resorted to taking loans from a cooperative society which he is a member. “I took a loan from my cooperative society for the repair of my roof but when salaries did not come, I started spending it on transport to my office.”

The non-payment of salaries by the Osun State Government for the past six months has also forced many civil servants into ‘forced fasting’ and selling jewellery as well as household appliances.

Newsmen in the state gathered that some of the workers who had part time business were now paying more attention to them than before. Some of the workers also do not go to work more than twice or three times in a week due to lack of funds. A local government worker, who identified herself simply as Kemi, said, “ We have a roster in my office. We rotate it among ourselves, some would go on Mondays and others on Tuesdays. I don’t go to the office more than once in a week because of lack of transport fare.”

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