The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, described as a lie, claims that his government is owing several months of salaries to some civil servants in the state.
The Governor-Elect of the state, Alex Otti, had after his election said he contested for the third time because the current government never addressed issues that made him run for the office the first time, including owing workers salaries.
In an interview with Channels TV on Thursday, March 30, Governor Ikpeazu said no “core civil servant” is being owed any salary, adding that those that have issues with salaries are working in parastatals.
“I have 31,000 workers in Abia workforce and 29,000 of them are up to date as we speak in salary payment… Parastatals receive subvention. I don’t pay their salaries because they are revenue-generating agencies of government,” Ikpeazu said.
According to him, the issue of non-payment of pension and salaries has been there long before he assumed office and he has done his best to settle them with the expectation that his successor will continue from where he stopped.
“But I don’t run away from responsibility, the issue of pension has been there perennially since the past 24 years. I did as much as I could, this government since inception passed through two to three recessions. When I came, within three months of my administration, I paid eleven months arrears of salary. Those eleven months were there while I was governor. So, if you take up position as governor you have accepted to take over both liability and asset and I don’t like to complain. I didn’t have to talk about what my predecessors did not do because what gave me my job in the first place was that there were things they didn’t do. So, for somebody to come and make a sweeping statement that no salary is being paid is a lie, I am not owing any core civil servant salary,” he added.
He argued that because the parastatals receive money from the government, they should be able to make money which will enable them pay salaries of staff.
Ikpeazu, whose second term as governor will end in May, lost his bid to represent Abia South in the Senate in the February 25 National Assembly election. His preferred candidate, Okey Ahiwe also lost the governorship election to Labour Party’s Otti.