Who will Save Abia from Ikpeazu?

Notes for File

When the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) last week accused the Abia State of becoming one of Nigeria’s most worker-unfriendly sub-national governments on account of the huge unpaid salaries, not a few raised eyebrows. Government owing salaries is not relatively new in Nigeria but that of Abia State under Governor Okezie Ikpeazu  appears to be too disturbing to ignore.

In a letter addressed to Governor Ikpeazu, the labour union complained of the plight of the workers in the state

To the consternation of Nigerians, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who signed the letter, said it is on record that the state government owes workers and pensioners in the following establishments:

“Local government employees – three months’ salaries; staff of Abia State University Teaching Hospital  (ABSUTH) – 23 months’ salary arrears; secondary school teachers – 11 months; primary school teachers – three months; pensioners -30 months; and  pensioners in the judiciary sector owed pension benefits from February 2021 to date.”

NLC also said workers in Abia State Polytechnic were being owed 30 months’ salary arrears, while workers in Abia State College of Education have 29 months’ salaries left unpaid and workers in Abia State College of Health Sciences five months.

While chronicling infractions committed by the state government against the workers, NLC said the approved CONHESS was yet to be implemented in Abia from May 2021 to date. It said that it was on record that the NBTE withdrew the accreditation of the Abia State Polytechnic recently.

The state since 1999 has been unfortunate to have the worst form of leadership in the southern part of the country and the South-east in particular. Abia has benefited at least twice from the Paris Club refund running into billions of Naira specifically meant to pay salary arrears and bailout funds. Apart from always getting huge allocations from the Federation Account, it also enjoys the 13 per cent derivation. There are also a plethora of loans obtained by the state. Yet it is replete with infrastructural decay and deficiencies.

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