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Ex-Ebonyi councillors demand payment of severance benefits

By Dennis Agbo

ABAKALIKI—OVER 400 former councillors in the 13 local government councils of Ebonyi State who served between 2004 and 2007 are demanding for immediate payment of their severance benefits owed them for about three years.
Chairman of the ex-councillors’ forum, Mr. Edwin Onwe, who spoke to Vanguard at the weekend, lamented that despite the order of Governor Martin Elechi, directing the commissioner for local government affairs, Mr. Celestine Nwali, to commence immediate payment of arrears of the benefits, nothing had been done to effect their payments.

Governor Elechi had, after an executive council meeting, directed the local government commissioner to commence payment of the ex-councillors’ severance benefits but the ex-councillors said they were shocked that governor
Elechi’s directive was being treated with ignominy.

Onwe, the ex-councillors’ chairman, said Nwali had promised to off load the payment within 30 days but regretted that the promise has not been fulfilled by him

Onwe said:   “Since the governor has given directive, the commissioner should comply. We are about 400 councillors, including supervisors, secretaries, coordinators and vice chairmen. If that money is paid, most families will benefit and this will hep the governor in his second term bid.

“For Governor Egwu called us in 2007 and told us that we should return Elechi as his successor and we did just that. We are now asking the commissioner to pay us that money because we are all PDP members and we are all totally in support of Governor Elechi’s administration, his programmes and policies.

“This is a benefit that other states in the country pay to our colleagues, so why should our own be different?”
Onwe stated that the advantage the ex-councillors have over the present serving councillors is that where the former have their regular meetings, the present councillors cannot meet because of government’s directive.
“What we need is encouragement from the governor


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