As workers in other parts of the country joined their counterparts all over the globe on Monday May 1, to observe the workers day, the event usually observed with March past and rallies was marred by the now in vogue Monday sit at home as Imo workers could not be mobilized at the state capital, Owerri or any of the 27 local government headquarters as more than 15000 serving workers and about equal number of pensioners are alleged to have been unpaid by the Imo state government as many of them have been lanquishing in penury or died of hunger.
Our roving reporter who accosted some of the Imo workers reported that most of unenthusiastic and non-challant workers responded that the day was not worth observing in Imo state in the presence of the continued insecurity in the state with workers of the INEC killed here and more than over 15000 Imo workers mainly from the local governments and parastatals not paid their monthly wages since March 2020.
Confirming and commenting on the plight of Imo workers, an elder statesman and former chairman of the retired Imo Permanent Secretaries, Comrade F.I Agba said he does not know what the state government is doing with workers salaries and is also uncertain whether the Imo House of Assembly has approved any budget for the payment of workers’ salaries.
The elder statesman is sure that at the last count and the records of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners and based on the state government demand for statistics, over 15 pensioners including those who retired since 2018 and those captured by Ihedioha’s verification exercise in 2019 have not been paid any dime as government, through it’s consultant only pays those it wishes to pay.
He reiterated that this savory situation emanated from the fact that government opted to sideline the statutory government officials including the Head of Service (HOS) and Accountant General (AG) whose functions it is to pay workers and is using unknown persons or contractors to do the shoddy jobs.
No worker or nobody knows who is in charge of payment of Imo workers and if there are short falls or non-payment nobody knows to which office or to whom to complain, whereas if they are civil servants they are liable and could be held responsible for accountability.
The retired perm secretary observed that it is regrettable and lamentable that since the tenure of Rochas Okorocha, no dead Imo workers has been paid his emoluments or emblements, saying “in Igboland” it is abomination to owe a dead man,
Whereas our reporter’s investigation revealed that since 2014 no retired Imo worker has been paid his gratuity which today runs into billions of naira as debts to Imo workers.
Answering further questions from our reporter, Comrade stated that it is absurd for Imo state to have established a ministry of labour and productivity when labour is on the exclusive list our Constitution .
He observed that it is unpalatable to hear government saying it has paid all workers and not owing anybody which is what is also happening on the roads in Imo which charlatans and praise singers eulogies the governor, when now that the rains are round the corner there is no motorable road in the state capital or throughout the sate.
Imo workers have no hope in government but only pray and hope in God for rescue.