Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose yesterday signed documents directing the accountant general of the state to refund monies over-deducted from salaries of teachers who bought some items from government during the administration of former governor Kayode Fayemi.
A few years ago, teachers bought cars and laptops from government on loan with an arrangement for monthly deductions from their salaries.
Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Samuel Akosile, said when the matter was brought to the notice of Fayose, he set up a committee to look into the complaints and gave an ultimatum of 30 days to bring its report.
Directing the accountant general to ensure the refund to reflect in the teachers’ September salaries, Fayose said: “There have been complaints of over-deductions in terms of facilities they have enjoyed such as laptop, car loans and others. The teachers have paid for these facilities but deductions are still being made. And a proper system that is functioning is not supposed to be like that.
“The system I inherited has not been functioning and I have to put a committee in place because these are complaints that are germane to the wellbeing of the teachers. The committee sat and listened to them and over N10 million over-deduction was discovered.
“Though, some are just N2,000, others are N5,000 while the highest may be N50,000. But to the teachers N2,000, N5,000 is a lot of money, especially in times like this. And if they still have complaints after the end of this month when I have directed that the deductions be refunded, this committee will still be around to listen to them.”
The governor who was also commended for promptly approving the grant to principals, promised to pay the backlog of 2014 primary teachers’ leave bonus.
“The people voted for me because they were convinced I could solve their problems. I cannot continue to blame it on the past administration because the people would not have voted them out if they still want them. It is now my responsibility and I have risen to the challenge,” he said.
Fayose, who has started the process of giving full autonomy to local governments in the state, harped on the need for state governments to respect the constitution that created the third tiers of government. He added that governors should not subvert these laws with their executive powers,
“The law is the law and you cannot change it. Local government creation and all that guides its creation is entrenched in the constitution of Nigeria. It is only in Nigeria that will do a lot of things to subvert the law because we have executive powers.”
So, whatever is in the constitution should be obeyed. Autonomy of the local government must be adhered to in Ekiti and I will review the laws regulating their operations through the state House of Assembly and strengthen them to be able to manage their affairs. The management of their resources must be left to them,” he said.
Responding Akosile said: “This problem you have laid to rest has been on since the time e-payment was introduced into the state. For you to have taken the bull by the horn and solved this perennial problem once and for all we pray that God will bless and strengthen you. You are already raising the hopes of the teachers. We also want to thank you for having started paying the outstanding salaries of primary school teachers. N200,000 million has been raised on this so far.”