Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule yesterday said the state government cannot pay gratuities of retired civil servants in the state until garnishing orders placed on accounts of the state were removed.
Recently, lawyers to a group of pensioners in the state approached a court and got judgement against the state government which ordered for the garnishing of all accounts for pensions been operated by the state government.
But Governor Sule, when interacting with members of the Nasarawa State chapter of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, who paid him a Sallah homage at Gudi, said the gratuities the pensioners were fighting for can’t be paid until the garnishing is removed from the said accounts.
However, the governor said the state government was able to pay salaries of civil servants for the month of July despite the garnishing of such accounts after he called Lagos headquarters of those banks.
“When the accounts were garnished, I have to start calling Lagos, the headquarters of these banks so that we will be able to pay salaries. So we’ve been able to pay salaries, but we’ve not been able to pay pensioners because the approval I got from Lagos was only enough to pay salaries.”
He, however, assured the pensioners that the state government has made provision for the pensioners to be paid between Monday and Tuesday of this week.
“One thing that is very worrisome in Nasarawa State is that the numbers of garnishing orders for Nasarawa State are enormous and are unfortunate. The reason is that the state has no enough resources to get those garnishing orders.”
Sule lamented that he inherited close to four or five garnishing orders on arrival as governor of the state, even as he explained that since the period of military administrations, the state has not been saving for gratuity. So gratuities have been accumulating and not paid.
“As a result of that, there is a huge accumulation of gratuities. So what the previous administration of Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura did was to set aside a certain amount of money to pay gratuities for the state. But Local Governments didn’t have enough to eat, talk less of paying gratuities,” he said.