The Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, has directed immediate payment of arrears of April salaries owed public workers in the state by the immediate past government.
Vanguard reported that Otti also ordered the payment of June pensions to retirees, some of whom were being owed upwards of 50 months by the last administration.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kazie Uko, the payments are in fulfilment of his campaign promise not to owe pensioners and those in service; and to clear all outstanding verified salary arrears.
Otti added that he approved the payments “to mitigate the plights of workers and pensioners in the state following accumulated wage arrears”.
According to the statement, “Gov. Otti gave the directive after a meeting of the Executive Council which had the Deputy Governor, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu, 16 newly sworn-in Commissioners, the Accountant General and other senior functionaries of the State in attendance.
“The Governor directed the Accountant General to ensure that both the April 2023 salary arrears and the June pension were paid before the end of the week, despite the ongoing verification of pensioners and workers in the government payroll.
“I know Government will be losing money by making these payments since verifications of workers and pensioners are still going on. So far, we have unearthed a lot of ghost names in our payroll but I also know there are a lot of genuine names there.
“What we are doing by making these payments, especially as it relates to pensioners, is to help mitigate the sufferings of genuine pensioners, who are mostly elderly and sickly and have had to endure untold hardship for so long”.