On Tuesday, workers at Ondo State Oil Producing Development Commission (OSOPADEC) shut down the state’s accountant general office to demand payment of their salaries.
The workers, led by the state chairman of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations and Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees, Oyesanmi Ilesanmi, protested over the state government’s refusal to pay their October, November, and December salaries.
Carrying placards with different inscriptions, the protesting workers accused the state accountant general, Laolu Akindolire, of withholding three months of salaries despite approval by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Among the inscriptions on placards include “Obey Arakunrin directive,” “Arakunrin, Save OSOPADEC From AG,” “OSOPADEC Is Not An appendage Of AG’s Office,” “AG Release Our Money Now,” “Laolu Misrepresenting Aketi’s Administration,” “Laolu Akindolire Enemy of Development Laolu Proceed On Leave Now.”
According to the workers, the state accountant general was responsible for the delay in payment of their salaries.
When the protesters went to the accountant general office, they were told that the accountant was not in the office, but they insisted he must address them. They vowed to spend their rest of the day in the place.
As the demonstration gathered momentum, the accountant general finally came out to address them, but he was heckled until the protesters’ leaders prevailed on them to listen to him.
The accountant general, Akindolire, admitted as claimed by the workers that the salaries had been approved for disbursement by the governor.
He explained that though the salaries had been approved, there was no cash backing, and his office could not facilitate the payment of their salaries.
He said, “Approval for salaries, vouchers are all inside here, but there’s no cash backing. You can only pay if there is cash backing. The commissioner of finance is there; he can confirm this.”
When he attempted to explain how the government paid workers deductions, the protesting workers were infuriated, forcing Akindolire to stop addressing them and went back to his office.
The workers attempted to force their way into the office but were prevented by their leaders who pleaded with them.
Leader of the protesters, Oyesanmi Ilesanmi, said, “We have got approval for the payment of the October salaries from the governor close to two months now and no payment has been made. We have written letters to the accountant general, and nothing has been done, and there was no reason or explanation as to why the salaries have not been paid.
“We issued him 7-day ultimatum, then 3-day ultimatum, which lapsed on Friday, last week, but they didn’t respond. Salaries of OSOPADEC workers are paid from the 30 per cent derivation accruing to the commission.
“The Accountant General said there’s no cash backing, so we don’t know who’s not telling the truth. We are occupying the premises every day until our salaries are paid.”
The workers vowed to continue to occupy the premises until their salaries are paid.
Saharareporters, New York