Imo govt uncovers 140 ghost pensioners
• Okorocha insists workers’ pay ‘a privilege not right’ • Purchases four fire–fighting vehicles
The Imo State government has uncovered about 140 ghost workers during the recent verification exercise for pensioners in the 27 Local councils.
The Special Adviser to the Imo State Governor on Enlightenment and Strategy, Dr. Kelechi Opkaleke, said the officials who conducted the exercise, allegedly fingered officials in the salaries and wages agencies and departments as being responsible for the act.
He regretted that money was wasted on the phony individuals, who operated with non-existent names and as dead pensioners, adding that the state government would bring the culprits to justice.
Okpaleke said the state government was meticulous about its spending especially as governments at all levels were facing financial challenges due to the fall in oil resources.
On the issue of unpaid salaries, Opkaleke said the state government viewed salaries as a ‘privilege and not a right,’adding that government was correct in directing every worker in the state to sign a form before receiving salary cheques for December and arrears.
He said, “Salary is not a right. It is just a privilege. This is the crux of the matter. Imo State, as we speak, has the highest wage bill in the whole of the South East and South South.”
Meanwhile, in its determination to tackle incidences of fire outbreak during the harmattan season, the state government has purchased four fire-fighting vehicles, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Utilities, Chinedu Ajoku, has said.
He said, at the weekend, that the fire service officials in the state were ready to handle emergency cases.
Ajoku said old fire-fighting vehicles in the state fire service have been refurbished, advising residents to be mindful of combustible objects, especially cigarette smokers and those who cook.
He urged people to adopt preventive fire outbreak measures to avoid any ugly occurrence, adding that people should always put off all electrical appliances before leaving their homes and offices.
Meanwhile, two children were roasted to death by fire yesterday (Monday), in a family in Egbu, Owerri North Local Council of Imo State.
Efforts made to retrieve the children from the house when the fire started, could not yield fruits.