FOLLOWING outcry by affected teachers in various communities in Ekiti State that there were wrongful and over-deductions from their monthly pay, Governor Ayodele Fayose has directed the Accountant-General of the state to immediately refund such monies.
It was gathered that some of the teachers, who had made purchases from the previous administration in the state, had their salaries “inadvertently over-deducted.”
A few years ago, teachers in Skiti State had bought cars and laptops among other facilities from the state government, with an arrangement for monthly deductions from their salaries.
But the teachers, through the chairman of Ekiti Wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr Samuel Akosile, cried out over the “over-deductions from the teachers’ salaries,” and had also described the development as “a perennial problem.”
When the matter was brought to the notice of Governor Fayose during a meeting with the teachers on August 3, he promptly set up a committee to look into the complaints and gave them an ultimatum of 30 days to resolve the issue.
Receiving the report of the committee and its recommendations on Thursday, Governor Fayose directed the Accountant General to ensure that the refund reflected in the teachers’ September salaries.
Fayose said: “There have been complaints of over-deductions in terms of facilities they have enjoyed such as laptop, car loans and others. The teachers have paid for these facilities, but deductions were still being made. And a proper system that is functioning is not supposed to be like that.
“The system I inherited has not been functioning and I have to put a committee in place because these are complaints that are germane to the well-being of the teachers. The committee sat and listened to them and over 10 million Naira over-deduction was discovered.
Though, some are just N2000, others are N5000 while the highest may be N50,000. But to the teachers N2000, N5000 is a lot of money, especially in times like this.
And if they still have complaints after the end of this month while I have directed that the deductions be refunded, this committee will still be around to listen to them.”
Fayose, who was also commended for promptly approving the grant to principals in the state, also commented on his readiness to pay the backlog of 2014 primary teachers’ leave bonus, saying: “
The people voted for me because they were convinced I could solve their problems. I can’t continue to blame it on the past administration because the people wouldn’t have voted them out if they still want them. It is now my responsibility and I’ve risen up to the challenge.”
The governor, who has started the process of giving full autonomy to local governments in the state, harped on the need for state governments to respect the constitution that created the third tiers of government, adding that governors should not subvert these laws with their executive powers.
He said: “The law is the law and you can’t change it. Local government creation and all that guides its creation is entrenched in the constitution of Nigeria. It is only in Nigeria that we a lot of things to subvert the law because we have executive powers. So, whatever is in the constitution should be obeyed. Autonomy of the local government must be adhered to in Ekiti and I will review the laws regulating their operations through the state House of Assembly.
Responding to governor Fayose’s handling of the issue, Akosile said: “This problem you have laid to rest has been on since the time e-payment was introduced into the state. For you to have taken the bull by the horn and solved this perennial problem once and for all we pray that God will bless and strengthen you. You are already raising the hopes of the teachers. We also want to thank you for having started paying the outstanding salaries of primary school teachers. N200,000 million has been raised on this so far.”