Oyo to pay N3.7b wage arrears to illegally sacked council chiefs

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Following Friday’s Supreme Court judgment which declared the sack of elected local government officials illegal and ordered the payment of their salaries and allowances, Oyo State will cough out N3.7 billion.

The elected chairman, vice chairman, and councilors had two years of their tenure left when Governor Seyi Makinde fired them.

The money is for salaries and entitlements for 68 chairmen, 68 vice-chairmen, and 610 councilors, democratically elected in the 33 local government areas and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

According to the data from salaryscale.com, each of the 68 chairmen is entitled to N3,181,611 salaries and allowances per annum, while each vice-chairman is entitled to N2,803,392 in salaries and allowances. Each of the councilors is entitled to N2.4 million per annum. This does not cover the severance package.

A rough estimate of the debt, which the apex court ordered the governor to pay by August, shows that while chairmen will rake in an average of N432.6 million, vice-chairmen will receive N381.2 million. The over 600 councilors will receive N2.9billion, bringing it to an estimated N3.7billion.

Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state, Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, said the Supreme Court judgment had confirmed the association’s position that Makinde lacks respect for rule of law.

He said: “We are happy with the judgment and it affirmed what we have been saying that the government has no respect for rule of law.

“It also shows its recklessness because we have been saying that the illegal arrangement of appointing caretaker committee members is wrong. He has been paying them the same money we will collect again. Oyo State is the loser.”

The chairmen, vice-chairmen, and councilors assumed office on May 14, 2018, after the election. They are of the All Progressives Congress (APC). But the governor, who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), within hours of his swearing-in on May 29, 2019, sacked them by fiat, saying their election violated the constitution.