By; PAMELA EBOH Awka
With less than one week to the end of Governor Willie Obiano’s administration, some of the aides of the Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke have cried out over non payment of salaries since October 2021.
Information has it that the aides mostly affected were those who remained with the deputy governor after he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), while those that remained with the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are receiving their salaries with increment.
Okeke had dumped APGA, and joined APC, in October last year ahead of the 2021 governorship election in the state
In an interview with newsmen, one of the affected aides, Mr. Arinze Ekpe, who doubles as the Special Assistant to the Governor on Protocol Matters, described the situation as very unfortunate.
He highlighted some of the efforts so far made by some of the affected aides to change the situation, including meeting with the Chief of Staff, Mr. Primus Odili, none of which has yielded any positive result till date.
He said, “Since the defection happened, we have been totally ‘blacksided’; we have not been paid, without any information or notice, nothing nothing.”
“As soon as the defection happened, it seemed as if we are scapegoats or that we were part of the defecting, when that is not actually the case.”
He however revealed that their principal, the Deputy Governor has been trying to help out from his own pocket, though not to the tune of what they were being paid by the government.
Ekpeh called on Obiano to give attention to their plights by paying off their accumulated salary arrears before exiting office, saying that it would be unfair to leave them empty-handed after devoting their time and personal resources to serve and work for the state for months without pay.
A source close to the Deputy Governor’s Office claimed that some of the security aides attached to him have also not been paid since October last year.
The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the affected security aides are mostly those who the Deputy Governor added to his securitu team few weeks to the 2021 governorship election and shortly after his defection to APC.
According to the source, the additional security aides, numbering about fifteen, were also denied their December entitlements and allowances, and have not been paid a dime by the government since the day they assumed duty till date.
He added, “Other security aides attached to the Deputy Governor prior to his defection are still being paid till date, while the new ones are still being owed for the past six months. .
“As it stands now, it is only one of the organisations that is yet to recall their affected officers from the Deputy Governor; others have been recalled,” the source said.
“You know economy is very bad now, and some these aides who are being owed are parents who have families to fend for while some of them are youths who are struggling to make it in life. So the government needs to look into their matter and do the needful, because some of them are the hope of their family; and when they are being owed or punished unjustly like this, I imagine what will become of their families and future.
“Some of the affected security aides are now being recalled and withdrawn by their offices and organisations over the non-payment of their allowances and other entitlements.”
Efforts to speak get reaction from the Accountant General of the State, Mr. Hilary Obigwe failed as his line was not reachable.