———-By Ara Ezekiel,————–
Ahead of the expiration of the three years tenour of elected Chairmen and Councillors of local government councils in Delta State in October, Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has signed into law the Delta State Independent National Electoral Commission (DSIEC) Bill into law.
The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori accompanied by his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi, Clark of the House, Mrs Lyna Ochulor and other Principal officers of the legislature had presented the bill with two other bills, the Local Government Amendment Bill (2017) and the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill (2016) to the Governor for assent on Tuesday at Government House, Asaba.
Governor Okowa observed that, “the signing into law of the DSIEC Bill 2017 is very important at this point in time, the law will strengthen the activities of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission and I believe that with this action, members of the Commission will be appointed to take office for the smooth conduct of the local government elections.”
Okowa who commended the vibrancy and cooperation of the Delta State Legislators in making laws that will ensure good governance, respect for rule of law and progressive society, stated that his administration will continue to support local government councils to offset their salary arrears.
Throwing more light on the situation with the local government councils, the Governor disclosed that some of the local government councils are heavily indebted to their staff as a result of having a lot of teachers and employees. He however noted that there are some local government councils in the state that do not owe salary arrears.
He said that efforts are on to ensure that only genuine workers earn salaries and called on the Unions in the local government councils to support the ongoing biometric exercise to weed out ghost workers from the system.
“We will continue to support the local government councils for them to pay salaries; allocation to local government councils is very low which has made some of them to find it difficult to pay salaries,” he said.
He added, “there are councils that are not owing salaries because their wage bill is low, I am aware that some councils have paid salaries up to date and we are working hard to ensure that only those who work are paid as there are many ghost workers.”
The Governor stressed that the essence of biometrics system introduced in the local government councils is to ensure that those who are fraudulently receiving salaries are fished out and removed from the pay roll to enable the councils have more money to pay their staff salaries.
Rt. Hon. Oborovweri had told the Governor that the bills passed through the rigorous process of different committees of the legislature disclosing that it was a thing of joy that Delta State is among the very few states that have passed the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill into law.