Delta faults bloated workforce, dashes hope of unpaid councils’ salaries

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

• Okowa denies role in Speaker’s impeachment
• 4,000 farmers benefit from CBN programme

The Delta State government yesterday described its 60,000 workforce as bloated and unreasonable.

It also dashed the hopes of unpaid councils’ workers in the 25 local government councils for nine months running.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa made this known at a media briefing in Asaba, saying: “It is unfortunate that Delta State has a bloated 60,000 workforce, which is not necessary. Rather, it is a waste of funds hence the state government cannot do other things apart from paying monthly salaries.”

He noted that the huge workforce had resulted in a situation where the state economy had continued to nose-dive to the extent that the state can no longer assist in the payment of outstanding local council workers salaries.

In related development, Okowa yesterday said he played no role in the removal of former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Monday Ovwigho Igbuya contrary to insinuations in some quarters that he was removed on the governor’s orders.

He disclosed that he spent a lot of time trying to reconcile the embattled members of the house in order to reinstate the impeached speaker but majority of the members were unanimous that he should be removed.

“I spent a lot of time trying to reconcile everybody but a large number of them said he had to go. If I had a hand in his impeachment, I would have provided them with enough security to do so at a more conducive time rather than at 6:30 am,” he said.

Answering questions from journalists on sundry issues, Okowa lamented the dwindling oil fortunes of the state due to delays in the repairs of the blown-up Forcados Export pipeline.

He said the state was earnestly waiting for the repair of the Forcados export line so as to reap its full benefits.

He also hinted that the Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Warri South West council would commence full academic activities in October this year, adding that the presidency had directed the Minister of Transportation and management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to work out modalities for its opening.

On the incessant clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the state, he said the herdsmen attacks have been escalating in the state and across the country and urged the Federal Government to enact policies that would end the menace.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 4,000 farmers of the 30,000 who applied for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme in the state have been captured and verified to benefit from the scheme.

Okowa said it was cause for concern that over 40,000 farmers benefited from the scheme in Zamfara State compared to Delta’s 4,000.

He however, said the state government was partnering with the programme to support farmers in rice production and fisheries in the interim.

Okowa explained that the state government could no longer continue with the first class scholarship scheme due to paucity of funds occasioned by recession.

He also said government no longer had the financial capacity to fund the registration of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) for its secondary schools students.

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Delta StateIfeanyi Okowa.
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