Okorocha recalls suspended local council workers, appoints 22 aides
• Wades into Pope, Ahiara Catholic priests crisis
The Imo State government has reinstated the 1,600 local councils staff that were suspended about five months ago. Governor Rochas Okorocha made the announcement at the Imo Trade and Investment Centre, Owerri, where he directed the immediate payment of their five months salary arrears.
He said the council employees for alleged lack of dedication to duty, aiding ghost worker-syndrome and refusal to disclose staff that had left service but were still collecting salaries.
Okorocha also noted that some workers were over-aged and in some cases did not merit the offices they occupied due to political influence. “Don’t blame the government but yourselves for refusing to expose ghost workers. I am aware that some workers who are in Malaysia are still collecting salaries from the local council areas, which has stifled the system,” he said.
He noted that out of 700 workers in each local council area, only about 100 report for duty, adding: “The worst thing any one can do is to take salary for work he did not do.”
Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission, Chinyere Uwandu, revealed that some of the suspended workers were either over-aged, impersonators or aides of ghost workers.
State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Austin Chilapku, expressed happiness that the governor listened to workers requests on May 1 by recalling the suspended staff.
Also, Okorocha has intervened in the crisis rocking the Ahiara Diocese of the Catholic Church to ensure there was no further religious disharmony within the Catholic community.
Pope Benedict XVI had a few days ago directed the priests to apologize to him for disobeying his directive that Monsignor Peter Opkaleke should assume as Bishop of the diocese.
They were also directed to tender the apology within 30 days from the day of the meeting in the Vatican or risk loosing the diocesan status and their priesthood.
A delegation led by Reverend Monsignor Edward Amakiri had met with Okorocha office to resolve the matter.
Meanwhile, a few days after Okorocha dissolved the Imo State Executive Council and Expanded Executive Council, he approved the appointment of 22 aides yesterday.