By Dennis Agbo

The 2017 – 2022 batch of councilors in Enugu state have protested non-payment of their severance allowances since the expiration of their two terms tenure in February 2022.

The 260 councilors who assembled at Michael Okpara square and marched peacefully to the Enugu Government house, narrated that they had engaged the state government in a dialogue on how to offset their entitlement after months of vacating their positions but has not yielded any meaningful result.

At the Government House, the Chief of Staff to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Dr. Festus Uzor addressed the former councilors and conveyed the Governor’s appeal to give him one week duration to resolve the impasse of the outstanding payment.

Speaking with our correspondent shortly before their departure to the Government House, the Coordinator of the group and former councilor for Olo ward 1 in Ezeagu local government council, Hon. Walter Ozoanya said that the immediate past councilors in the state had an understanding with the state government on different occasions for payment of their entitlements.

According to Ozoanya, “First of all, the severance allowance is a statutory right and we have other allowances and incentives due to us, but in all these, the severance allowance is what we are asking for from our Oga, the Governor of Enugu state. Even though we worked in the local government councils, the local governments and the states are inseparable. He also promised us that he will monetize the cars to the tune of 70 percent worth of the cars and we agreed and since then we have been working obediently and have been paying all our loyalties to him.

“So many of us resigned their previous appointments to serve as councilors for their people and most were purely sacrifice but at the end of the day, these people need to get back to place and remember that by the way of law, we resigned every other thing we were doing except agriculture which even the Fulani people did not allow us engage in the agriculture when the Governor sent us home to go and leave in our various villages.

“So we had nothing but our main salaries, a stipend that has not been reviewed since 1999. Now the stipend for the severance allowance for the two terms which is N4.8 million per councilor is what we are asking for and the Governor can give it to us within a twinkle of an eye. If it’s the Council Chairmen that will do it for us he will just guide them to do it for his children and they will do it.

“So he (Governor Ugwuanyi) promised us that he will do that for us in June. He told us that the time we met him, they were preparing for primary elections and urged us to go and join and support to ensure that we were victorious in those primaries and we did that up to 100 percent. We have been doing that because we’ve been taught how to do that and we have graduated.

“Now, we waited for him throughout June and we also sent him messages, even on whatsapp and followed it up with a letter that his staff acknowledged and he never called any of us and we have decided to go back to ask him. We want to remind him that June has gone. We have exercised this patience since March this year and now our patience has got to a limit that we need to meet the Governor again to beg him for it.”

Coordinator of the former councilors in Igbo-Etiti local government Council, Hon. Kingsley Acharabuagu stated that the councils were pressing their demand on Governor Ugwuanyi because he was the one that promised the councilors that they will be paid and also made to them the 70 percent car worth payment that was not redeemed, and more importantly because the Governor is the numero uno of the state who could resolve every impasse in the state.

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