PDP Tackles Abia Govt over Claims Ikpeazu Owed Judiciary Workers 8 Years Salary Arrears

Decries "Despicable, Unconscionable" Attempts to Paint Past Govt in Bad Light

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The Abia State government has sparked controversy for claiming that judiciary workers were not paid salaries for eight years by the past administration, and that Governor Alex Otti has commenced payment of the arrears.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Kazie Uko had raised eye brows in the opposition camp with a press statement entitled “Gov Otti Begins Payment of Eight Years Salary Arrears of Judiciary Workers”.

He went further to state that the payment of the salary arrears was in fulfilment of Governor Otti’s promise to offset all salary arrears, including those of the members of the Abia chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

But the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was piqued by the claim that the immediate past government owed judiciary workers, saying that it was a “mischievous propaganda” taken too far.

In a statement signed by the state Vice-chairman/Acting Publicity Secretary, Hon Abraham Amah, insisted that the former ruling party government never owed workers in the Abia Judiciary service.

He said that the alleged eight years salary arrears was “a cheap, infantile and barefaced lie to paint the past PDP administration of Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu bad”, adding that it was “despicable and unconscionable”.

“The Abia PDP uses this opportunity to inform the good people of Abia State and Nigerians that Judiciary workers in Abia State were paid their due salaries and allowances as at the time Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu handed over the reins of government to Alex Otti on May 29, 2023,” he said.

The opposition party spokesman explained that what was owed Abia JUSUN members was the contentious arrears of six months arising from the differential in the payment of the Consolidated Judiciary Salary Structure(CONJUSS).

According to him, the former government had, in order stave off a looming a strike in 2015, “signed an agreement to increase judiciary staff minimum wage from N22,000 to N40,000 which many states (had) rejected.

“JUSUN insisted on being paid the six months arrears prior to the agreement which the previous government refused to pay because it considered it outrageous,” Amah said.

Former Commissioner for Finance under the the Ikpeazu administration, Mr. Obinna Oriaku has also weighed in on the matter, saying it was false to claim that judiciary workers were owed eight years salary arrears.

Expesssing his view on his personal social media handle, Oriaku said: “The headline is totally misleading as it leaves the public with the impression judiciary workers are [being] owed for eight straight years”.

However, the Chairman of Abia JUSUN, Oracle Chinedu Eze, appeared to have laid the issue at rest in a letter of gratitude he sent to Governor Otti, through the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ikechukwu Uwanna.

He wrote: “It is with a grateful heart full of joy and happiness that I, on behalf of the entire Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria members and executives, wish to inform and appreciate you for the first batch of the CONJUSS arrears paid yesterday (November 15, 2023)”.

 

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