Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has ordered immediate payment of salaries to all workers in the state.
In a statement on Friday by the Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, Mr Ikpeazu regretted that an industrial action embarked upon by the Abia State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had paralysed activities across various government offices in the state, including the office of the state accountant-general which is responsible for payment of salary.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the NLC in the state, Tuesday, resumed its earlier suspended indefinite strike action in the state over unpaid salaries and pensions.
The leadership of the labour union in the state had explained that the resumption of the industrial action, which it suspended in March, was in response to the failure of the state government to pay the salaries of the workers despite promising to do so.
Ikpeazu explains delay
Mr Ikpeazu, reacting to the allegation of non-payment of workers’ salaries, explained that the recent freezing of the state government’s account due to a court order affected payment of the salaries.
“Despite the current challenge of the state government with its bankers, Dr Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has directed the office of the accountant-general to commence payment of salaries to ministries and parastatals from today, Friday 12th May 2023,” the statement said.
“Government hereby directs all affected staff to resume work at their offices immediately and ensure resumption of activities in all ministries and the office of the accountant-general for implementation of this directive,” the statement added.
Mr Ikpeazu said failure by the workers to resume work immediately would frustrate an ongoing transition process from his administration to the incoming administration of Alex Otti of the Labour Party.
The governor claimed that “no core civil servant and or ministry are owed salaries before now” but did not provide details.
“Furthermore, salaries of local government staff are up to date save for the inherited five months arrears, out of which three months has been paid and the outstanding two months is being addressed,” he claimed.
He said he had also directed local government authorities to commence immediate payment of salaries of health workers across the 17 local government areas of the state.
“It is important that all staff of the local governments remain at their duty post as that will ensure completion and commissioning of all ongoing projects for the benefit of our people and a smooth transition process,” the governor stated
He said he would remain committed to the workers’ affairs until he leaves office on 29 May.
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