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South East Governors’ Forum directors protest unpaid salaries

By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)
20 November 2021   |   3:08 am
The five directors of the Southeast Governor’s Forum secretariat have cried out over eight months of unpaid salaries, seeking intervention of traditional rulers to get paid.

[FILES] Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State (right); Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum (left); their Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodimma (second right); Abia State Deputy Governor, Ude Oko Chukwu (second left); Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (third left) and other South East leaders, during a meeting at Government House, Enugu.

The five directors of the Southeast Governor’s Forum secretariat have cried out over eight months of unpaid salaries, seeking the intervention of traditional rulers to get paid.

In a petition they sent to the monarchs through the Chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzo, the directors stated that the last time they received salary was in February this year, and have been abandoned since then.

The petition was signed by the group’s Director-General, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, who is also the Secretary to the Enugu State Government (SEG); Greg Madu (Deputy Director-General); Orlando Nweze (Director, Finance and Administration and Ebonyi State Commissioner for Finance and Strategy); Michael Ike Udah (Director, Media and Communication) and Chibuike Amaechi (Director of Projects).

They lamented that while the governors have continued to fete some people with food, drinks and money in the southeast region, they have been abandoned to die with members of their families.

The petition read in part: “As the Chairman of Enugu State Traditional Rulers’ Council, we humbly write to brief you (today, November 16, the birthday of the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a revered Igbo man) on the plight of the staff of the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) secretariat. We have chosen to write to you because the secretariat is domiciled in Enugu, the headquarters of the South East region. Besides, Your Royal Highness is an esteemed father and icon.

“Since March 2021, the South-East governors have withheld the salaries of the five directors drawn from the five South-East states.

“The last salaries we received from the SEGF were paid at the end of February 2021. No sack, dismissal or dissolution memo or letter ha, as at the time of writing this letter, been served on any of us. No explanation has been offered to us as to the reason we have been abandoned in this most despicable way.”

“We have wives, children and a retinue of other dependents (including old parents, sick persons and pensioners) who look up to us for their needs. Given the current economic crunch in Nigeria, those workers who operate in different governmental and non-governmental organizations across our country find it difficult to eke out a decent existence. Your Royal Highness can imagine how we have been faring since the past eight months”