Government Of Imo State
-That Will Be Mere Blackmail, As Government Has Paid Salaries Up to July
The Imo State Government which governor Rochas Okorocha superintends has read with concern the reported threat by the Comrade Ayuba Wabba-led Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to carry out a protest on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 against Imo and Nasarawa States.
In the report, the leadership of the NLC said they would carry out the protest to identify with Imo Workers over what they described as “abuse of public service process by Imo State government”.
And for the avoidance of doubt, the Rescue Mission Government in the state with Okorocha as governor wishes to deny that allegation. The accusation is totally false. Imo State government has never abused any public service process as alleged by the NLC leadership, either by design or by accident.
The only problem the Labour Union in Imo has with the state government is that the leaders of the Congress have taken delight in blackmailing the Rochas-led administration for reasons we have always hesitated to talk about. And they also have the feeling that the only way to impress the workers is by opposing every policy of the state government not minding the popularity of such policy.
In February 2016, the same Labour leaders in the state brought the entire National leadership of the Congress led by Comrade Wabba to the state also for a protest over one month salary owed to workers and the suspension of certain categories of workers in the parastatals for the purpose of repositioning them for productivity.
The outcome of that protest was the joint agreement between government and the labour leaders including the National ones, with Comrade Wabba also being a signatory. And the crux of that agreement was that “government will retain and run all its affairs with not more than 30% of the verified revenue every month, while the joint committee will apply the balance of 70% in the settlement of salaries of public servants and pensioners”.
The state government has been religious over the implementation of this agreement. And has also paid civil servants’ salaries upto the month of July. In other words, Imo State government does not owe the civil servants in the state any outstanding salary at the moment.
Again, the Back to Land for Agriculture policy of the government, for which the State Executive Council decided that public servants in the state except those on essential duties would work from Monday to Wednesday in their respective offices and farm on Thursday and Friday of every week is a popular one, because the policy is in the overall interest of the state and the workers in particular.
The government has also assured that the salaries of workers would continue to be paid accordingly. Ditto, their leave and annual allowances. The government did not ask the workers to go home and relax, but to go and farm for the two days to assist to a large extent, the economies of their individual families. Yet, the NLC in the State gave counter directive without looking at the prospect of the policy. NLC is not an opposition political party.
The issues of land and fund have also been raised in some quarters. And the government said it is going to give agric loan to the public servants who engage in farming. And on the issue of land, any Imo man or woman who gives land as excuse is insincere. Aside personal lands, the lands in Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Ngor Okpala, Ideato and other areas in the state can take care of the whole of South-East states. And they can also be accessed in less than an hour from any part of the state. We expect the labour leadership to now talk with the government on how to go about this.
Let the Comrade Wabba-led Congress publish the claimed “abuse of public service process by the Imo State Government” for Nigerians to see. Otherwise, we will view the planned August 23, 2016 protest against the state government as mere blackmail and posterity will hold it against the organizers.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Imo State