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Southeast Governors’ Forum directors cry out 8-month over unpaid salaries

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
19 November 2021   |   8:30 am
The five directors of the southeast governor’s forum secretariat have cried out over eight months of unpaid salaries and asked for the intervention of traditional rulers to enable them get paid. In a petition they sent to the monarchs through the Chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzo, they stated that the last…

The five directors of the southeast governor’s forum secretariat have cried out over eight months of unpaid salaries and asked for the intervention of traditional rulers to enable them get paid.

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

The petition was signed by the group’s Director General, Prof Simon U Ortuanya, who is also the
Secretary to the Enugu State Government (SEG); Engr. 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 Engr. Chibuike Amaechi (Director of Projects).

They lamented that while the governors had continued to fete muslim brothers and sisters with food, drinks and money in the southeast region, they had been abandoned to die with members of their families.

The petition read: “As the Chairman of Enugu State Traditional Rulers’ Council, we humbly write to brief you (today, November 16, the Birth day 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 SEGF 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 Directors are the Director-General (Prof. Simon U. Ortuanya, representing Enugu State); the Deputy Director-General (Engr. Gregory Madu, representing Imo State); Mr Orlando Nweze (Director of Finance and Administration, representing Ebonyi State); the Director of Media and Communication (Mr. Michael Ike Udah, representing Anambra State) and the Director of Projects, Engr. Chibuike Amaechi who represents Abia State.

“The last salaries we received from the SEGF were paid at the end of February 2021. No sack, dismissal or dissolution memo or letter has , 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 why we have been abandoned in this most despicable way.

“We have wives, children and a retinue of other dependants (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”

They continued: “As Ndigbo, we at the SEGF ordinarily thought, upon our recruitment, that our Igbo Governors at the SEGF would treat us as fellow brothers from Ala-Igbo-the South East Region of our country. Among other things, we were euphoric that together with our Employers/Principals, we would tackle the issue of marginalization of Ndigbo.

“But alas, while our Governors fete our Muslim brothers and sisters with drinks, food and even give them purse during their festive periods, on the contrary, they have abandoned us, a situation which may lead to our early demise because of frustration, High blood, depression, and hunger.

“ Against the foregoing, we earnestly write to humbly appeal to You Royal Highness/Excellency to intervene on our behalf, and help us by imploring our Governors/Employers to treat us as fellow human beings: pay us our outstanding Eight months’ salaries plus Christmas Bonus as December is by the bend.

“We hope you will save us from starvation by appealing to the South East Governors – their Excellencies Engr. David Umahi, FNSE, FNATE (Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State); Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State Governor); Dr. Willie Obiano ( Anambra State Governor); Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State Governor) and Chief Hope Uzodinma (Governor of Imo State).

“It will be tragic if we are not paid our accumulated salaries before the month of December, 2021. That will spell a terrible Christmas for us, our families (nuclear and extended) and our numerous dependants. It will simply mean a re-enactment of a similar Christmas of starvation which we had encountered in the past because of a similar reason.”