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Relief As FCT Releases N1.67bn To Pay Area Council Workers’ Salary Arrears

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has released the sum of N1.67 billion as bailout for its six Area Councils for the payment of two months’ salary arrears owed workers.

The FCT Minister, Malam Muahammad Bello disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, Kwali and Bwari Area Councils got N251 million and N289.72 million respectively.

“Abaji, Kuje, Gwagwalada and Abuja Municipal Area Councils received N267.72million, N295.7million, N262.55million and N312.98 million respectively.’’

He stressed that the money was a bailout fund released to the councils and must be used to offset the two months’ salary arrears owed workers of the area councils.

Bello said that the money would be recovered by the FCT administration from the10% of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) statutorily due to the area councils.

Dr Babatope Ajakaiye, FCT Permanent Secretary, however, explained that the administration was able to give the bailout because of its strict fiscal management.

He, therefore, admonished the area councils to imbibe discipline in the management of the funds.

He urged the councils to cut down their expenses to avoid unnecessary expenditure, stressing that the era of frivolities were gone forever.

He also warned that the bailout must be used strictly for the payment of staff salaries as stated in the agreement between the FCT administration and the area councils.

The permanent secretary said that due process and necessary legal steps were followed in approving the funds.

He added that the approval to secure the loan was given by the area councils’ legislative arms.

The FCT ALGON Chairman, Micah Jiba, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the FCT Minister and the Permanent Secretary for their fatherly disposition and for coming to their aid.

Jiba, who is also the Chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, assured that the money would be judiciously used for the purpose it was meant for.

Meanwhile, Mr Tanko Shemdi, Chairman FCT Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has applauded the FCT Administration for intervening and ensuring that the crisis in the area councils was brought to an end.

The four members of the FCT Traditional Council led by its Chairman and the Ona of Abaji were present at the occasion.

The activities at the FCT six area councils had been paralysed following the resumption of strike by members of the NULGE.

The union was protesting the non-payment of salary arrears to its members by the FCT administration.

The union had on February 15, after an emergency meeting of its executives, threatened to resume full strike on February 29, if the FCT administration failed to pay the salary areas