As the world celebrates Christmas on Monday, some Nigerian civil servants have urged the federal government to pay arrears of the N35,000 wage award it promised workers.
The civil servants, who spoke to journalists in separate interviews, also advised the federal government to always endeavour to pay their December salaries before Christmas.
Shortly after announcing the removal of the petrol subsidy, President Bola Tinubu promised to give an N35,000 wage award to federal government workers.
According to Mr Tinubu, the idea was to help the workers cushion transport costs amid the rising cost of food and other commodities.
According to Simon Ali, a civil servant, the stoppage of the N35,000 wage award has created confusion.
“Most of us have accommodated this wage award of N35,000 as part of our monthly budget, but we have only been paid for September.
“This is something that the federal government initiated by itself. The president will do well to ensure that the wage award is restored and the arrears paid, especially in the festive season,” he said.
Another civil servant, Isa Ahmed, expressed disappointment at the federal government’s failure to continue paying the N35,000 wage award.
Mr Isa also complained that the delay in payment of December salaries was not helpful to the workers.
”Many of them even pay 13th-month salary bonus to enable their workers to celebrate Christmas with ease. Why is it difficult for the federal government to do something similar?
“I hope that the president will consider paying the three months’ arrears of the N35,000 wage award along with the December salary,” he said.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) recently warned of dire consequences if the government stopped the payment of the wage award.
The TUC national president, Mohammed Ibrahim, said the federal government must fulfil its obligations to pay the N35,000.
According to him, the federal government approved a wage award of N35,000 to workers in its payroll effective September 1.
“The one for September 2023 was paid in November 2023,” he said.
He appealed to the federal government to commence payment of the outstanding arrears of October and November.
Also, the Federal Workers Forum (FWF) expressed concern that the N35,000 wage award may have been stopped.
In a statement, the national coordinator of FWF, Andrew Emelieze, said that the workers are passing through tortuous moments since the removal of the fuel subsidy.
“Federal government workers nationwide have been going through tortuous moments since the removal of petroleum subsidy.
“Our take-home pay has been made meaningless as a result of the rising cost of living and the constant devaluation of the naira.
“Salaries have remained the same while prices of goods and services have tripled within this period.
“Minimum wage has remained at N30,000 monthly while prices of everything continue to soar,” he said.
He also called on the federal government to pay the arrears of the wage award as a matter of urgency.