As the three year tenure of elected local government council officials in Cross River State winds down on December 14, 2016, officials in the third-tier of government are uncertain if the state government will commit to clearing a backlog of financial entitlements owed them, www.calitown.com can reveal.
Besides being owed salaries, “an entitlement like our furniture allowance, which should have been given to us in the first or second year of our tenure, remains an issue the state government is refusing to address. While we hear about huge sums of money being earmarked for projects that remain invisible, this little entitlement of ours is not something our state government wants to hear”, a councillor who has elected to remain anonymous said.
Our investigations further revealed that, it was on the strength of the anticipated receipt of the furniture allowance, a N1.1 million per individual entitlement, that several of these local council officials were lured into obtaining facilities from some banks and financial institutions. As the clock winds down on their tenure while payment does not appear likely, those who obtained facilities are having sleepless nights as creditors look poised to impound their vehicles and other valuable assets. We also discovered that several former council officials are owed a backlog of entitlements, their severance allowances, running into several millions of naira.
“See, at one point we were directed by government to commence computation for payment of this money and we did. It was all in the air that payments were to be effected and these people were pregnant with expectations. Then from no where, their hopes were dashed and not even one of us in this Ministry, can say what happened. Like every thing in our state now, the more we look, the less we are seeing”, a top government official told www.calitown.com. Sources in the Accountant-General’s Office, Cross River State and the Ministry of Local Government, are certain payments will not be effected.
Meanwhile, with only weeks away from December 14, 2016, there are no indications that the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSIEC, will organize elections into the respective councils in the state, fuelling speculations that the state government plans to constitute caretaker committees to run the councils.
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