Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, yesterday suspended the state Accountant General, Stella Udogwu, for allegedly not paying October to November salaries to workers in the state. Okorocha was quoted to have so directed by his Chief Press Secretary Sam Onwuemeodo, at the 40th Year Anniversary of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, at the Hero’s Square in Owerri.
Okorocha did not stop at that, he called for the arrest of the bank managers of the banks where the money meant for salaries was said to have been lodged. He ordered that the interests so far generated by the money be recovered.
According to the statement, “The governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has suspended the Accountant-General of the State, Mrs. Stella Udogwu and ordered the arrest of the Branch-Managers of the banks over the non-payment of the November Salaries of the Local Government Workers in the State. The suspension of the Accountant-General is with immediate effect.
“The governor had before now directed that the October and November Salaries of Workers in the State workforce should be paid at the same time in October. And the governor had believed that the directive was carried out accordingly.
“Only to be told by the Leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, when he attended the event to mark the 40th Year Anniversary of the Union at the Hero’s Square Owerri on November 30, 2018, that the Workers have not been paid the November Salary.
“The governor who was shocked to hear that announced the immediate suspension of the Accountant-General and ordered for the arrest of the Branch-Managers of Banks said to be where the money for the salaries of the Local Government employees for the months of October and November were lodged.
“The governor therefore ordered that the November and December Salaries should now be paid on December 3, 2018, since December 1st and 2nd are not working days, and equally announced N10,000 each for the workers as their Christmas bonus and N2.5m as car allowance for each of the Local Government Directors of Administration and General Services. Okorocha among other things said that, “From today hence forth, there won’t be any need for any Local Government Worker to try to convert to the Ministry to be able to get to level 17 or become a Permanent Secretary.”
He added: “Today, I have officially lifted the embargo on Local Government Staff getting to level 17. Hence forth, Staff of the Local Government Civil Commission will be promoted to level 17 when they are due for it” I had released the salaries of every Worker in Imo State since the second week of October and so if Local Government Workers are been owed, then somebody must take responsibility of it and will be dealt with according to law.
“This is a criminal act aimed at disgracing this government. What they do is that, they take the money and put in the bank and collect the interest.
“An acting Accountant-General will be appointed with immediate effect and the Secretary to the State Government should direct anybody next to her to act immediately. Your salary must be released and your December Salary shall be paid immediately.
“All the interests from the salary kept in the bank must be collected and shared to the Local Government Workers who are the owners of the money. I order for the immediate arrest of the Branch-Managers of the banks(Names withheld) with immediate effect.
“N2.5million has been approved for each of the Directors of Administration and General Services as vehicle allowance. They could use it to buy their vehicles themselves or the ministry can coordinate it for them.
“The treasurers will only be given the same when the government finishes the investigation and discover that they are not guilty of the salary fraud.”