13th March, 2012
The Rivers State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has lamented the dilemma a section of public servants in the state, particularly the junior cadre staff of the State Polytechnic, Bori, have found themselves with regard to their fluctuating monthly salaries and questionalble deductions.
Workers affected are those on grade levels 2-9, and the party wants the state government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe the deductions.
More worrisome, the ACN noted through a press statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Jerry Needam, is the attitude of the new Rector of the institution, Obianko Nwolu-Elechi toward the cries of the affected staff who are at a loss at the huge deductions from their salaries without any prior notice or reason for such action.
He alleged that the new Rector was before now Deputy Rector for several years and part of the mismanagement in the school and cannot claim ignorance of what brought about the deductions.
Needam said whatever the reason is, the affected staff ought to be told why their monthly salaries are being deducted when there ought to be an increment to cushion the effects of the hike in prices of commodities, occasioned by the oil subsidy removal.
The ACN regrets that rather than cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy, Nwolu-Elechi prefers to go on air to deny the deductions, an action he is privy to.
The ACN therefore wants the State government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to put the necessary machinery in place to investigate the matter, convinced that there is more to the deductions than meets the eye.
The party also regrets that Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori, that ought to be a model to other tertiary institutions in the state because of its rich resource base and strong foundation, has in less than three months of Obianko Nwolu-Elechi administration become so unaccountable that salaries are even paid to staff with no evidence of payment like pay advice .
“While salary deductions are not new if and when necessary, it’s our conviction that such action should not be shrouded in secrecy and when such becomes public knowledge the authorising agent should be bold enough to own up than deny an obvious fact which pre-supposes that something is fishy,” Jerry Needam remarked.
Meanwhile, the school authorities have consistently denied the allegation of illegal deduction of the salaries claiming that none of its staff had his salary deducted for whatever reason.
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt