Nigeria’s Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun on Wednesday calmed the nerves of protesting workers of the ministry who are demanding payment of a N1.2bn special allowance package.
The workers began their protest on Monday, crippling activities at the ministry and calling for the sacking of the Minister.
Adeosun showed up on Wednesday surrounded by about 70 security men. The angry workers however prevented her from entering the ministry. The security men prevailed on the workers about ten minutes later. Adeosun alighted from her vehicle and was asked by the workers to walk into the ministry on foot which she did.
Addressing the workers, she said she meant what she said when she promised Nigerians to enshrine fiscal responsibility in government dealings, The Cable reports.
“When I said at the start of my tenure that I would restore fiscal responsibility to our economy, it was no idle promise. The money we spend is not our money, it belongs to the Nigerian people,” Adeosun said.
“We need to justify every naira and at a time when all Nigerians are suffering the consequences of the financial crisis inherited from previous administrations, we simply cannot afford to pay out special bonuses to civil servants. Those days are gone.”
She added that all salaries and lawful allowances are paid on time and in full, emphasising that the overtime allowance sought by some staff is non-statutory.
However, a Punch report says the workers have suspended their protest and have reached a truce with the minister.