Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade says despite the state's dire financial status, his administration has recruited thousands workers into the civil service since assuming office in 2015.
Ayade who addressed some workers who were delisted from the payroll at the U.J.Eusene Stadium, Calabar, explained that their employment was without his knowledge, as "the civil service commission did the employment without recourse to me."
He lamented the situation where the picture was being painted to give the erroneous impression that his government sacked the workers, when in fact his government has employed a lot of workers into the state workforce after lifting an 18-year-old embargo on employment.
According to him, immediately he took office in 2015 he lifted the embargo on employment into the Cross River civil service and employed 2,500 teachers instantly.
The situation at the state water board, he said, was dire "when I came in because 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, made them civil servants, payrolled them and paid their backlog"
Asking the affected workers to put him in their shoes, Ayade inquired, "If you were the governor of the state and you suddenly discovered an additional 2,500 staff on your payroll that you did not authorize, that you did not know about, nobody consulted you, what will you do?"
The Cross River state number one citizen stated that if he was vindictive, he would have since sacked officials who smuggled the names into the payroll.
He then asked the delisted workers to submit themselves to verification for regularization, saying he has decided to get them reabsorbed into the service out of compassion.
"I am doing so on compassionate ground and not because the state is buoyant enough to accommodate you", he told the cheering workers.
"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."