By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The Anglican Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Reverend Joseph Akinfenwa Friday raised the alarm that most state governors in the country are presently threatening the on going fight against corruption and the promised change agenda by President Muhammadu Buhari by continuing to owe their civil servants backlog of salaries.
Reverend Akinfewa who raised the alarm while delivering his address at the third session of the 21st Synod of the Diocese declared that a situation whereby state governments are owing their workers salary apart from stifling the economy, would also expose the workers to lots of compromises which will eventually affect their productivity.
The Clergy pointed out that “a government that is keen about fighting corruption should not allow its representatives to owe workers’ salaries, because that in itself breed great corruption.”
“We appeal to President Buhari to weigh in on our governors and prevail on them to set their priorities right. Many state governments in Nigeria are owing their workers, not as a result of absolute lack of funds, but because they do not give payment of salaries the priority attention that it deserves,” he said.
According to the Anglican Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, if the workers are compromised, it will be difficult to get them back on track again hence the need for President Buhari to call the governors presently owing workers salaries to order.
“Income in the hand of government workers is a major source of liquidity and circulation of resources in our economy. Owing government workers translates to stifling the economy. Moreover, there is no way the fight against corruption and the change agenda of this administration can be effective when civil servants are not paid their salaries”.
Reverend Akinfenwa added that “hungry workers are easier to compromise; and that is what is going on in states that owe their workers arrears of salary. The more painful part is that once these workers have been so exposed and compromised, they shall be difficult to re-orientate and reform even after their outstanding salaries have finally been paid”.
He then advised the President Buhari led administration against interfering with the independence of the media in the country as doing so either through intimidation or compromising the media will make nonsense of our democracy.
“We appeal to the government of President Buhari to let the Nigerian press enjoy even greater freedom during its time. When we speak of a free press, we refer not only to freedom from control, but also freedom from state manipulation. In the quest to consolidate power, the APC-led federal government should resist every temptation to undermine or compromise the fourth estate of the realm”.
Reverend Akinfenwa recalled that when the APC was in the opposition, the party then enjoyed great benefits from the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and that now that it is at the helms of affairs, it should do everything to enhance the freedom of the press.