Imo State government has in a volte face and contrary to the portrayal of 490 IMSU staffers as ghost workers, paid those they had earlier rejected and flagrantly referred to as ghost workers at the Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri.
The “ghost workers” so referred to even include the Vice Chancellor, Prof (Mrs) Victoria Adaobi Obasi, who has worked for close to 30 years in the institution, the Chief Librarian, Prof Okee Okoro, a staff of 25 years standing and a number of other staff of the university totaling 490 as stated by the Education Ministry in Owerri.
In a state wide broadcast, the State Commissioner for Education, Prof B.O.T Ikegwuoha, announced that starting from 11am on Tuesday August 4, 2020, the over 490 staff who were previously declared “ghost workers” and who were unable to receive their salaries since March 2020, were paid in full. The announcement also added that all outstanding salaries have been released, in lieu of the affected staff cum “ghost workers”.
He however attributed and blamed the delay in the payment of the affected Imo State University staff on the management which he said sent in a payroll bill captioned “new hire”.
Among other things, the Commissioner, Prof Bernard Onyemauchechukwu Thompson Ikegwuoha, as he preferred to be addressed and called during the broadcast, said, it was for exclusive and specified reasons obviously caused by the management of IMSU, who declared some staff as “new hire” in the list they sent to the government for the wage bill that constituted the imbroglio that delayed their salaries.
“For the avoidance of all conceivable doubts, the government and Governor have paid all staff of IMSU, March, April, May and June 2020 salaries as at 11 am Monday August, 2020. I have ascertained and been duly informed that those who previously called and informed me that they have not received their salaries, have now gotten their bank alerts to this effect”, Ikegwuoha stated.
A senior lecturer at the university who doesn’t want his name in print while expressing shock, disbelief and consternation at the development, said, “one is tempted to ask if this is deliberate or an oversight on the part of Imo State government so much that it appears that they lack the capacity and accurate record to ascertain the total or actual number of staff on its employ and to determine those who have been paid on monthly basis and quarterly basis or not and how much each staff is entitled to as monthly salary and total emolument as the case may be.
“How could they have sent different batches of staff list for salary wage bills to Government House, thus confusing and complicating the situation” he queried.