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Unpaid Salaries: “You Embarrass US” RSHA Tells Amaechi

The people of Rivers State do not need a soothsayer to tell them that all is not well with the administration of the outgoing governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

In the past two weeks the state has been watching different kinds of group including unions protesting and demanding for payment of salaries and other arrears.

The Port Harcourt City, the capital of the state is not at rest as protesters coming out now and then to ask for one thing or the other. The angry protesters frequently visit to the Brick House.

Worried by the workers’ demand for the unpaid salaries, the sleeping and moribund Rivers State House of Assembly suddenly awake to carry out its statutory duties which so many social pundits described as “so late in the day”.

Some of the lawmakers expressed annoyance with the governor’s inability to give priority to the welfare of the workers in the state as regards to payment of salaries.

However, Amaechi’s members of the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA) have distanced themselves from claims by the state government that civil servants have been paid salaries up to March this year.

The House has, therefore, summoned nine commissioners and heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to appear before it to explain how appropriated funds and regular remittances from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), as well as monies from the Federation Account, have been spent.

Monday’s reaction of the legislature, which comprises 20 pro-Governor Chibuike Amaechi lawmakers showed great concern about the state of Rivers’ economy.

A motion at their resumed sitting on Monday by the Deputy House Leader, Nname Ewo, questioned whether the state was broke, and noted that the Executive has not been fair in guaranteeing its social contract with indigenes.

The motion read in part: “As we speak today, workers and pensioners are owed salaries and allowances for months, yet funds have been appropriated and regular remittances made from the Internally Generated Revenue and the Federation Account and others.”

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Ibim Semenitari, while condemning a group of protesters from the Ministry of Sports, who claimed they were being owed salaries for eight months, had insisted that civil servants in the state had received salaries up to March 2015.

Stating that the government was already preparing their April salaries, Semenitari maintained that the state had continued to pay salaries because it believed that workers’ welfare was paramount.

Reacting to the claim, however, the Deputy Speaker, Leyii Kwanee, who presided at the sitting, expressed shock at the commissioner’s conflicting report against the fact that workers were still being owed for several months.

Describing the statement as embarrassing, Kwanee said: “We have been seeing a lot of conflicting reports about payment of workers’ salaries. The other day, the Commissioner for Information was on air saying that salaries have been paid up to March.

“So, we feel very embarrassed as an arm of government, that is why we decided to sit today to look at all these issues. What you saw us do is our quest to see that there is accountability in the system and in our society.”

Warning the invited person not to fail to appear before the House, he added: “If anyone wants to test the will of the seventh legislature, we will tell them that we have power till May 30 of this year.”

Some lawmakers who spoke to our correspondent observed that the governor has derailed, and that he and his Commissioner of Information should close their mouths and stop deceiving Rivers people

The lawmakers also unanimously supported the suspension of the chairmen of Khana, Asari-Toru and Ahoada East local councils for allegedly not guaranteeing the protection of lives and property and not maintaining “financial frugality.” ###

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