“My State Workers Should Forget About December Salary For Now” — PDP Governor Shocks Labour, ..Give Reasons

Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has directed the withholding of December salaries of the management and board members of the state Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) over negligence of duty.

Umahi gave the directive on Wednesday in Abakaliki during a meeting with the UBEB officials, expressing disappointment that they failed to pay teachers’ promotion and leave allowances as government earlier directed.

According to the governor, the affected officials should forfeit their January 2018 salaries if they had received that of December.

The governor also said that the UBEB officials should not be paid 50 per cent salary bonus in January 2018 which government promised the workers.

He directed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to issue queries to the affected officials to make them realise that the welfare of workers under them superseded other interests.

“Teachers have been calling and sending me text messages, complaining that they have not received the leave and promotion allowances promised by the government.

“This makes government appear to be deceiving the people without them knowing that I am not aware of the non-payment.

“The availability of my phone number to the people is good for me to know what is actually happening in the state though it has its good and bad sides,” he said.

Umahi noted that most UBEB board members were not aware of the development but the punishment was in order to make them fully involved in the agency’s scheme.

“You sit in the comfort of your offices and enjoy your Christmas celebrations and don’t care how the people who work under you feel.

“I am therefore setting up a committee headed by the Commissioner for Education to ensure that teachers receive full payment before 12 p.m. on Thursday.

“He and the state’s Accountant-General should investigate UBEB’s activities.

“Things are definitely not going well there and they always hid things which make them withhold funds every time.

“I hope that its accountant has been removed as directed and my principal secretary and the state’s accountant general should issue a press release apologising to teachers over the delay.

“The release should also warn the UBEB management not to repeat such acts because people must be ready to work and execute government’s directives,” he said.

Chief Samuel Okoronkwo, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, informed the governor that the UBEB management submitted the list of teachers under it.

Okoronkwo said however that the list covered a period of six months instead of the stipulated one year.

“The state government reached an agreement with the organised labour to pay workers leave and promotion allowances for one year and duly directed relevant agencies to submit names of teachers.

“The UBEB management submitted the list covering six months instead of one year and we rejected it because it went contrary to government’s directive,” he said.

Chief Hycinth Ikpor, UBEB Chairman, claimed that the board was not aware that it should submit the list covering one year adding that it erroneously submitted the one that covered only six months.

Ikpor however promised that all relevant requirements would be ready to ensure that full payments were made immediately.

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