Court orders Anambra govt to release N1.5bn workers’ salary arrears

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BY NWABUEZE OKONKWO

ONITSHA—Reprieve may have come the way of staff of Anambra State Water Corporation and Environmental Protection Agency, as the Industrial Court sitting in Enugu has ordered First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Awka branch, to release N1.5 billion for payment of salary arrears owed them by the government of immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi.

The order came as a result of garnishee proceeding brought against the state government by Messrs Enobong Etteh, counsel to Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, the umbrella union representing the water corporation and Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency, ANSEPA.

The union had initiated the seven-year-old suit against the state government during Obi’s administration for starving them of funds, disowning the agencies in its entirety and above all left in the trail death toll of 232 of the helpless workers between 2006 and 2014.
After the court order, the surviving workers expressed gratitude to Governor Willie Obiano for accepting the verdict with sympathy and urged him to begin the resuscitation of the agencies without further delay.

The workers also observed a minute silence for their departed colleagues and prayed for the success of Obiano’s regime.
Reacting to the court verdict amid wide jubilation, Chairman of the Staff Welfare Association, Chief Osita Nwoche, noted that Obiano had simply shown a sign of magnanimity, as a man of conscience, adding that the judges, on their part, were fearless and courageous.

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