By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri— Knights of St Christopher, Diocese of Owerri, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, have asked Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State to put first in his agenda, the issue of pension and salaries of workers in the state to avert starvation in the land.
President of the Knights, Owerri Council, Sir Gabriel Oduah, stated this in his 2017 presidential address, yesterday, in Owerri.
While lamenting the level of hunger and suffering in the country, he argued that it would be unacceptable for leaders to use the issue of “recession” as an excuse not to pay their workers,saying: “Imo State is a public service driven economy.”
He also recalled that during the time of “oil boom,” Nigerian leaders did not utilise the opportunity to develop the country as expected.
According to the address, “the case of recession in developed countries may be understandable because of saturated economy and over-burdened structures. But what about the developing countries?
“In Nigeria, for example, while we agree that global recession may slow down the growth of our economy, it should not go the extent of inability of government to pay workers and pensioners their paltry wages.”
“In many states of the Federation including Imo state, where their economy is public service driven, caution should be exercised because non-payment of salaries and pensions as at when due, amount to starving the entire population of those states.
“Another excuse in Nigeria is the fall in oil prices in the global market and therefore a reduction in federal allocation to states.
“The question remains, what did we do with the money when there was oil boom ? why could we not have diversified our economy instead of being complacent with a mono economy ? What are we doing with what we get now ?
“The only question is that corruption and bad management of our resources are responsible for the economic situation in which we find ourselves today.”