Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has recalled the 2,500 civil servants he ordered to be delisted from the state payroll for over 13 months.
The workers were said to have been recruited when he was on vacation. The state government fired them after Ayade resumed work. The workers, who have been protesting against the decision, last week held a series of demonstrations.
Addressing some of the workers at the U.J.Eusene Stadium, Calabar, on Wednesday, the governor explained that their employment was without his knowledge.
“The civil service commission did the employment without recourse to me,” he said. The governor said he was not happy that people have been calling him names and accusing him of insensitivity to the plight of the workers, whereas his government has employed a lot of workers since its inception.
According to him, immediately he took office in 2015 he lifted the embargo on employment and employed 2,500 teachers. Ayade said the situation at the state water board was bad when he assumed office, but said he saved the situation.
“Because the staff there had not been paid for a very long time, because they were ad hoc staff, I decided to convert them to permanent staff and paid their backlog,” the governor said.
He stated that if he was vindictive he would have since sacked the officials who put the names of the delisted workers on the payroll. But Ayade said he asked the delisted workers to submit themselves for verification and regularisation, saying he has decided to recall them out of compassion.
He said: “I am doing so on compassionate ground, not because the state is buoyant enough to accommodate you.I earn an income that is less than the salary of this state. Today, we are standing here and I say let us do verification because we are humans, we still have conscience.”