WORKERS in Ondo State are threatening for showdown with the state government over an alleged attempt to divert the Paris Club loan refund by the Federal Government to a fixed bank account.
The workers bemoaned the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu over his decision to walk out of a meeting with the government and the union when it demanded for explanation on the alleged diversion of the fund.
The workers, who threatened to embark on an industrial action if the government failed to intimate the workers about the development.
Speaking on behalf of the workers after the meeting, the state chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Mr. Tayo Ogunleye, Trade Union Congress (TUC) chairman, Soladoye Ekundayo and JNC chairman, Comrade Abel Oloniyo, threatened to embark on a strike if the money was not used to pay the outstanding salaries and leave bonuses of workers.
Oloniyo explained that “a meeting was scheduled by the governor to meet with the labour leaders on the development.
“After we had spoken, Mr. Governor stood up and said that I don’t think this meeting would hold and walked out on us.”
Oloniyo described the situation as embarrassing and that the union would meet to decide on the next line of action.
“We are meeting any time from now and it could result to anything. But definitely, we will get back to the government of Ondo state on this action.
“On the Paris club refund, we know that the money was paid into the account of the state government but we don’t know what has happened to the N20.9 billion.
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“We got the information that the money had been paid three weeks ago and we confronted the state government. We were told that the money had been withdrawn from the (Central Bank of Nigeria) CBN and we asked them to address the issue to douse the tension but the government refused.
“We suspected that the government was not sincere with the money. We are concerned about the Paris club refund. What happened today is just a confirmation of our suspicion that the state government had perfected plans to divert the Paris club refund,” he said.
Contacted by our correspondents, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Segun Ajiboye, said the governor did not walk out of the meeting but excused himself to attend to other state’s assignments.
According to him, “Prior the meeting, the governor had a Memoradum od Undeerstanding (MOU) signing ceremony billed to hold at 2 p:m. But in order to accommodate the meeting with labour, the governor advised that the MOU signing ceremony be rescheduled till after the meeting with labour,” he said.
“And during the meeting with labour, all the stakeholders spoke and made their requests while the governor listened attentively to their complaints and demands”.
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