The Niger State House of Assembly on Monday condemned the decision of the state government to slash the salaries of civil servants in the state, describing it as unlawful and irresponsible.

The House, therefore, directed the state governor, Abubakar Bello, to refund the 50 per cent balance cut off from the salaries of workers in the state or face the consequence.

The Chairman, House Committee on Labour and Productivity, Hon. Abdulmalik Madaki, made the position of the House known while briefing Journalists at the Assembly complex in Minna.

“No one has the right to tamper with the salaries of civil and public workers,” Madaki said, adding that the salary cut was a gross violation of the law and Labour act.

“Our salary is a law. The way the civil servants salaries were slashed, so was the salaries of the legislators was slashed into two. The issue of salary is regulated by the law and someone cannot just wake up one morning to slash the salaries without consultation with the House of Assembly.”

‘Bailout funds unaccounted for’

He called on the government to explain what it had done with the N14.6bn bailout funds it got from the Federal Government for which the settlement of salaries were included.

He said, “At the inception of this administration, the House of Assembly granted an approval to the state government to access a loan of N1.8bn to enable it settle the arrears of salary for local government which was inherited from the past administration.

“The Federal Government offered the state government N4.6bn bailout loan to augment the shortfall from the federation account, which the House of assembly approved. If the governor now says he secured N3bn overdraft from banks, then where is the N4.6bn? What has he done with it?

“The sum of N10bn, bailout funds, was also granted to the state by the Federal Government to enable it execute demanding projects. The state government also generated revenue internally. The House observed that there is no wisdom in cutting the salaries of public and civil servants by half”, Madaki queried.

The Committee Chairman, who lamented that the government was being run as a private enterprise, stressed that the Assembly would towards ensuring that the reversal of the decision.

He said that the State Assembly will reconvene from its recess for an emergency sitting to consider the issue.