Finally, Governor Hope Uzodinma has cleared arrears of salaries and pensions owed to judicial workers as well as judges by the previous administrations in Imo.
Judicial workers in Imo have been owed by previous administrations particularly the administration of former Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Recently, the former Governor of Imo State Ikedi Ohakim threatened to protest naked in Imo if the judicial workers were not paid their salaries and despite the said threats, the then governments of Okorocha and Ihedioha did not pay them.
In keeping with its promise to retired judicial officers, the Imo state government has paid all outstanding Pensions and gratuity of retired judicial officers, in the state, including Judges.
A statement in Owerri yesterday by the state commissioner for information and strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the pension payments cost the government almost 400 million Naira.
Recall that retired Judges and other retirees from the state judiciary had last month paid a courtesy visit to governor Hope Uzodinma at the government house wherein they pleaded with him to save them from excruciating hardship occasioned by the nonpayment of their pension arrears.
The governor had at that visit promised that he would clear the pension arrears.
The statement from the commissioner also explained that payment of Pensions of other retired workers in the state was being delayed because of the tardy arrangement of the sacked administration of Emeka Ihedioha in which pensioners were paid through a consultant.
” This government does not accept a situation where government money must first be paid into a private individual’s account, in the name of a consultant, who then pays the Pensioners from his account. Meanwhile, the so-called consultant is paid handsomely just for being an avoidable third party between the government and Pensioners ” the statement said
The statement added that the government has called for details of the contract between the consultant and the state government without success and regretted that there are no clear records on ground to show who got what and how.
Emelumba listed the tardy consultancy arrangements, the absence of the past government’s claimed biometric data of Pensioners and the reluctance of the consultant to come forward with information on his previous transactions with the government as factors that have contributed in delaying payment of pensions in the state.
But he assured that the government has almost concluded arrangements whereby Pensioners will be paid directly by the government. It added that the pensioners would be paid soon.
On delayed Local government workers’ salaries the information commissioner said it was caused by bloated payrolls from the local governments, adding that a thorough verification exercise was ongoing and that the Local government workers would be paid in a few weeks.