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The leadership of the Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has berated Governor Alex Otti over claims that his administration only recently has started paying judiciary workers their accrued salary arrears of eight years.
The Eastern Updates recalls that Dr. Otti had in a statement over the weekend claimed that the incumbent administration had started paying eight years arrears of salary owed the judiciary workers by the previous PDP-led government.
Apparently irked by the statement from the Labour Party (LP)-led government, the PDP through its Vice Chairman, Abia North and Acting Publicity Secretary, Abraham Amah, in a statement, accused the Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Kazie Uko, of mischievously deceiving ‘Abians’ in their attempt to boost the dwindling popularity of the incumbent administration.
Amah accused the LP of attempting to demean the former administration led by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, whom he affirmed to have paid the judicial workers their salaries before leaving office on May 29.
‘Nothing can be more demeaning, condescending and utterly embarrassing to Otti and his Labour Party in descending to such a cheap, infantile and barefaced lie to paint the past PDP administration of Dr. Ikpeazu bad by alleging that it owed judiciary workers in Abia State for the eight years it was in government.’
‘The Abia PDP takes 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. Ikpeazu handed over the reins of government to Dr. Otti on May 29, 2023 and so the issue of eight years’ salary arrears is nothing but the wicked construction of the Otti administration to continue to ride on the back of lies and propaganda to cover up its incompetence in governance.’
‘For the record, the judiciary workers union, JUSUN, was in discussions with the state governments as at 2015, long before Dr. Ikpeazu assumed office and there were many issues on the table, including autonomy for the judiciary and minimum wage salary increase for its members.
‘Unfortunately for the Ikpeazu administration, the same elements shouting about a non-existent eight years’ salary arrears today, were the ones that surreptitiously forced the JUSUN leadership to single out Abia State for a proposed strike meant to embarrass the young administration.
‘To stave off the strike, it signed an agreement to increase judiciary staff minimum wage from N22,000 to N40,000, which many states rejected and JUSUN insisted on being paid the six-month arrears prior to the agreement, which the previous government refused to pay because it considered it outrageous and this is what Otti and his handlers have mischievously, as always, converted to eight years.
‘Thankfully and to the vindication of Abia PDP and Dr. Ikpeazu, as widely reported by the mainstream news media in Nigeria, the Chief Registrar of Abia State High Court, Mrs. Victoria Okey-Nwokeukwu, had refuted the claim that judges and judiciary workers in Abia State were owed salaries because, according to her, honourable judges are paid by the National Judiciary Council (NJC), while Abia State pays their allowances, including vacation allowance, which has been paid up to 2022. She described a report that judiciary workers were being owed eight years’ salary as misleading and an embarrassment to the state government.