Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Indigenes of Osun State stormed the National Assembly to protest the non-payment of their salaries.
Led by the Chairman, Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State, Comrade Adeniyi Suleiman, the protesters claimed that Governor Rauf Aregbesola has thrown the State into a state of jeopardy by refusing to pay the workers’ salaries and other entitlements.
They particularly alleged that Aregbesola “embezzled, diverted, encroached and scrutinised” the State’s resources into his own personal account.
“We are here based on the situation in Osun State. We are here to lodge our bitter complaint for the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives. Osun State is now a state of jeopardy because Governor Rauf Aregbesola embezzled, diverted, encroached and scrutinised Osun State resources into his own personal account and had refused to pay the salary of workers and the pension of pensioners, including gratuities.
“The people are not benefiting from the dividends of democracy in Osun State. That is why we are are here to protest to the National Assembly through our petition. We are calling on the EFCC, ICPC to take action. We have a lot of evidences, which are contained in our petitions to the EFCC and ICPC.
“Aregbesola also diverted N34bn bailout fund to his own personal account because he refused to use the money to pay salaries of workers, retirees and pensioners. All the projects he claimed to have executed are half done, he is only using propaganda to govern Osun State. That is why we are rejecting the government of Aregbesola,” he claimed.
A member of the group, Bishop Seun Adeoye, added: “My Chairman has said it all. We are saying that the National Assembly should come and save us from the situation in Osun. We are now receiving zero allocation in Osun. The State received N2.4 billion last month, but when the banks deducted debts from the source, the FAAC said the State still had N24 million to pay to the federation account in the month. The debt Aregbesola took on behalf of the State, cannot be paid back until after 35 years”.
But in a swift reaction to the protest, the Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC) described as political and insincere the rally of the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
OCSC, in a press statement by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Ibrahim, said that the rally was being sponsored by opposition party to destabilize the State.
“We wonder how a mission to serve as witness to a case turned to political protest against the governor. We want members of the public to reason on the action of the judge and the members of the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State,” he said.
Ibrahim maintained that the purported financial crisis of the State on which the rally is to be held is gradually fading out with the payment of workers’ salaries and commencement of infrastructural projects.
Ibrahim said that the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), on Monday commended Aregbesola for the disbursement of the bailout used to offset the backlog of the salary debt.
He stated that there was no justification for the rally, if not to speed off campaign of calumny against the government as being dictated by the opposition party.