June 17, 2009

Abia LG workers lament salary arrears

By Anayo Okoli

Umuahia—Local government workers in Abia state are owed several months of salary arrears by their respective council authorities.

Almost all the 17 councils in the state are owing their workers, except for two councils. The salary arrears range between two to six months.

Some of the councils are also owing the political appointees they engaged. Meanwhile,  Arochukwu and Umuahia South had announced the sack of the political appointees.

This has subjected the staff of  the LGs to serious hardship as some of them who have no other means of survival have resorted to borrowing, while some said that their children had since stopped going to school.

Worst affected are Aba North and Aba South councils, where the workers are owed up to six months salary arrears.

Specifically, Aba North council owes its staff six months salary arrears and according to some of the workers who spoke to Vanguard, “we have no hope as no effort is being made to pay us”.

They accused the council chairman of being insensitive to their plight.

In Aba South, where its chairman, is still engaged in legal battle with the Action Congress candidate, who contested the election with him in January 2008,  workers are owed six months salary arrears. But Okezie said recently while speaking with journalists in Umuahia, that he had just paid two months, leaving an outstanding arrears of four months.

Ukwa West chairman, Chief Slvanus Nwaji claimed that he is the only council not owing his workers, while his Ukwa East counterpart said he is  owing only one month arrears, which he claimed was owed when he was away on the invitation of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He said that the book was based his many years experience in the transport industry, especially his involvement with the United Nations as Adviser on Transport/Logistics, and as  the FTO of the Nigeria Police.

Speaking after taking delivery of the books, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Celestine Onwuliri, commended the DCP for donating the books and appealed to others to assist in uplifting the academic standard of the university.