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How Uzodinma saved N1b from salaries, pensions in three months, by Commissioner

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The Imo State government has disclosed that it has saved about N1 billion by blocking leakages in the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions since Governor Hope Uzodinma assumed office on January 15, this year.

The government also disclosed that it has taken delivery of N187 million worth of official vehicle, which the immediate past governor, Emeka Ihedioha, allegedly bought for his use before the Supreme Court sacked him on January 14.

The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, made these disclosures yesterday while fielding questions from journalists during a programme on the state-owned radio station, Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) Orient.

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According to him, Ihedioha had placed order for the vehicle, which has a room and parlour with other facilities before his ousting.

He added that the governor was informed about the development when the vehicle arrived at the port, stressing that it has been safely kept.

Emelumba wondered why a man who had come to serve purchased a vehicle worth N187 million while there were many problems facing the state.

His words: “Ihedioha imported a vehicle worth N187 million to use. Unfortunately, it arrived when he had left office. It has a room and parlour and is fitted with other items. One wonders what a man who claimed he had come to salvage Imo people will be doing with a car worth N187 million.”

He also accused the former governor of leaving office with many vehicles owned by the state.

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On how the state government saved the said amount, Emelumba said the governor insisted on thorough scrutiny of payrolls for both salaries of civil and public servants and pensions, noting that in the process, double entry of names among other irregularities was discovered.

“The government that is about three months old has been able to save N700 million from civil servants salaries and N300 million from pensions. The most important thing is to sanitise the system and have it move.

Those who are culpable will be dealt with according to the rules of the civil service. That is what I can assure you,” he said.

He further disclosed that the state government uncovered bloated figures of 32,000 workforce and 31,000 retirees, saying that though the governor had directed immediate payment of March pensions, more scrutiny was going on.

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He also clarified that all legitimate workers in the state’s employ had been paid up to March, arguing that those who were yet to receive their salaries since February are people who have been unable to comply with the e-compliant directive of the governor.

On the accusation by the Chief Press Secretary to Ihedioha, Chibuike Onyeukwu, that Uzodinma should humble himself and undergo tutelage from his boss, Emelumba said the comment was unfair to the governor, saying that Ihedioha was not comparable with Uzodinma, who has “experience, exposure and capacity, among others.”

“It is like comparing orange and apple,” he added.

Ihedioha could not be reached for his comment despite repeated efforts before filing this report.

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