IN THE light of the ongoing
faceoff between the Imo State civil
servants and the state government
over unpaid salary arrears,
Governor Rochas Okorocha has
vowed to bring their pay at par
with other states like Anambra,
Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia and Edo
states as well as reform and
transform the state civil service
system to enhance productivity.
Addressing a cross-section of
Imo workers during a meeting
at the Imo State Chamber of
Commerce (former Ahiajioku
Convention Centre), New
Owerri, Owelle Okorocha decried
the level of indiscipline among
workers in the state.
He stated that government would
not tolerate a system where workers
decide on the method of paying their
salaries contrary to government’s
policy even as he condemned
absenteeism and lateness as well as
other vices in workplace.
The governor who expressed
regret that the workers failed
to show understanding despite
reached agreements on the salary
issue bemoaned the protests and
strike action by the aggrieved
workers saying they were aligning
with opposition to destabilize the
Also, he condemned the menace
of ghost worker syndrome and
“salary padding” in the sector
revealing that the state had lost
over N11billion to the problems
and accused top civil servants of
encouraging the mess.
On the issue of arrears of salaries
owed workers, he assured that
government would pay up the
arrears without delay since the
state’s share of the bailout fund has
been received but insisted that every
worker must justify his pay at the
end of the day by productive input.
Concerning parastatals of
government, the governor directed
the payment of their arrears of
salaries but maintained that review
of their various issues must be
He remarked that workers in
the state had gone partisan in their
reaction to the issue of unpaid
salaries pointing out that Imo was
among the states owing the least in terms of number of months.
The governor used the occasion
to set up committee made up of
the Accountant-General, the Chief
of Staff, the Principal Secretary,
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Local Government and Head of
Service, as members.
He also directed the committee
to ensure that all the salaries owed
workers are cleared and payment
must be made by cheques in
line with the policy of the state
government to check the ugly case
of ghost workers.
While alleging that virtually
every revenue that accrues to the
state on monthly basis is gulped
by payment of salary of workers
and political office holders in
the state, the governor charged
labour leaders in the state to instill
discipline in the civil and public
service.Responding, the state
chairman, Nigeria Labour
Congress, NLC, Comrade Austin
Chilakpu, maintained that there
was no justification for owing
workers in the state and assured
of his cooperation to ensure the
salaries are paid as announced.
The workers who turned out
in their numbers periodically
shouted in opposition against
some of the pronouncements of
the governor on his new measures
to reform the state civil service
and insisted on their ‘no pay, no
work’ stance.

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