The Ondo State Government has removed the names of about 600 persons working in palaces of traditional rulers across the state from its central payroll.
Hitherto, the state government had the officials in its employ, subjecting them to the rules of the state’s civil service.
PREMIUM TIMES findings showed that following the disengagement, the palace staff would now hold their employment at the pleasure of the monarchs who can now either hire or fire them.
It was also gathered that the government would no longer pay the palace officials directly through their bank accounts, but a cheque would be raised in the name of the traditional rulers, who would then pay the staff based on their terms of employment with the employees.
The President of the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, in Ondo State, Bumi Eniayewu, who is also a member of the Local Government Service Commission of the state, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.
He said the adjustment was not a sack per se, but a return to the old order, where the monarchs are allowed to hire their own staff so they could have certain level of control over them.
“It appears that this is coming from complaints from traditional rulers who had to inherit their staff even against their own wish,” he said.
“The palace staff have not been sacked, it is a return to the old order, so that the Kabiyesies can have some measure of control over their own staff.
“We have situations where the employees are misbehaving so that sometimes a Kabiyesi will come and be looking for his driver who will not come to work and yet will get paid.”
Mr. Emiayewi noted that with the development, the palace staff will “hold their appointments at the pleasure of the Kabiyesi.”
Asked if the palace staff would not be short-changed should cheques be issued to them for onward payment to their staff instead of paying them directly, the NULGE president said their terms of employment would be decided between them and the monarchs.
“The monarchs know their staff well and they should be able to iron out such issues amicably,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria labour Congress, NLC, Ondo State, has described the move by the government as illegal and unacceptable.
The state chairman of union, Bosede Daramola, said that the names of the affected palace workers had been reportedly removed from the government’s payroll without being accused of any wrongdoing.
She said all the palace staffs were properly and legally employed by the state government into the local government administration.
Mrs. Daramola called on the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to intervene and reverse the development in order not to plunge the employees and their families into hardship at a time that economic recession was biting harder.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Segun Ajiboye, when reached for the government’s reaction, said he was not aware of any sack at the local government areas.