Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has ordered for the arrest of the Branch-Managers of Ecobank and Access Bank over the non-payment of the November salaries of the local government workers in the state.
As a result of this act, the Accountant-General of the State, Mrs Stella Udogwu, has been suspended from office by the governor.
In a release he issued through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, the governor said the suspension of the Accountant-General takes immediate effect.
The governor had, before now, directed that the October and November salaries of workers in the state workforce be paid at the same time in October.
The governor had believed that the directive had been 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, in Owerri, on November 30, 2018, that the workers had not been paid the November salary.
Governor Okorocha, therefore, ordered that the November and December salaries should now be paid on December 3, since December 1 and 2 are not working days, and equally announced N10,000 each for the workers as their Christmas bonus and N2.5 million as car allowance for each of the local government directors of Administration and General Services.
He also said, “From today henceforth, 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.
“Today, I have officially lifted the embargo on local government staff getting to Level 17.
“Henceforth, staff of the Local Government Civil Commission will be promoted to level 17 when they are due for it”.
He continued, “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.”
The governor said, “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 Ecobank and Access Bank with immediate effect”.
“N2.5 million 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”.
The governor added, “I consider myself very lucky that perhaps in the history of Imo State, I am the only governor leaving office and people are celebrating.
“I remain grateful to all of you. I thank the Leadership of NULGE for appreciating the good works of the Rescue Mission Government. For this show of gratitude, I will respond appropriately”.