The Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, on Friday, ordered the Accountant-General to commence immediate payment of salaries to striking workers in ministries and parastatals in the state.
The order to pay the workers comes amidst challenges the government faces with its bankers.
In a statement signed by Barr Chris Ezem, Secretary to the State Government, the governor directed all affected staff to resume work at their offices immediately and ensure resumption of activities in all ministries and the office of the Accountant-General for implementation of this directive.
The statement said in part, “Any breach of this directive will frustrate the on-going transition process and other activities.
“The attention of Government has been drawn to the on-going strike by Nigeria labour Congress, Abia state chapter, which commenced mid-night of Monday 8th May and has paralyzed government activities across the ministries, parastatals, cabinet office and office of the Accountant-General which is responsible for payment of salary.
“It is public knowledge that the recent protracted court order freezing various government accounts affected payment of salaries to ministries and parastatals for the months of March and April 2023.”
The governor clarified that no core civil servant and or ministry was owed salaries before now and that salaries of local government staff were up to date “save for the inherited 5 months arrears out of which three months have been paid and the outstanding two months are being addressed.”
The state government also directed local government authorities to commence immediate payment of salaries of health workers across the 17 LGAs.
The statement said, “It is important that all staff of local governments remain at their duty posts as that will ensure completion and commissioning of all on-going projects for the benefit of our people and smooth transition process.
“Dr Okezie Ikpeazu-led government is conscious of its obligation to its work force and will ensure there are no half measures as it affects the welfare of Abia workers till his last day in office”.
Reacting, the state chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Pascal Iheme Nweke, said the union met with the SSG and the Head of Service at the office of the DSS.
He said they prevailed on the union to return workers to work and assured that the salary alerts would start coming to them today (Friday) “as there is no way salaries would be paid without the office of the Accountant-General being open”.
“We agreed and opened the Accountant-General’s office and that of the HOS pending Monday when they are supposed to do their beat. If not, then we will go back again”.