• Group tasks S’ East govs on the welfare of secretariat staff
Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma, has directed Chief Cyprian Charles Akaolisa, to resume duties as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state.
Uzodimma had, about three months ago, sacked 20 out of his 28 commissioners. Also, a few days ago, the Owerri branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), led by Jude Ogamba, flayed the sack, saying it was wrong for a state government to be without an Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
But a statement issued, yesterday, and signed by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, clarified that Akaolisa “was never among the Commissioners dropped when the executive council was dissolved a few weeks ago.”
The statement notes: “This error, which occurred when I was announcing the commissioners retained by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, is highly regretted. I accept responsibility for this error.
“Consequently, the government has directed that the Hon. Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, C.O.C. Akaolisa should immediately resume his normal duties as he was never dropped from the state cabinet.”
A rights group, South East Resilience and Support Group (SERSuG), meanwhile, has urged the governors of the Southeast geopolitical zone to pay the six months salary arrears owed to directors and workers at their secretariat.
The Guardian learnt that the directors were appointed four years ago to man the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF).
The governors in the zone are Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), and Victor Ipkeazu (Abia).
In a statement issued by its coordinator, Chris Azor, the group regretted that since February, the five directors (representing each state in the zone) were left to suffer without salaries.
It accused the governors of unleashing similar tactics on retired Gen. Obi Umahi, who was appointed to head the Ebubeagu security outfit, who also resigned weeks ago, citing lack of operational logistics.
The statement reads: “The SEGF owes its staff six months’ salaries. This sum represents the salaries and allowances of the five directors of the SEGF from February 2021 till date.
“The last time these directors who have been running the secretariat for the past four years were paid salaries was in January 2021.
“Reliable sources say the governors have been treating the Forum and its staff with levity. It was learned that the governors do not fund the organisation the way their counterparts in the North East, North Central, North West, and South West geopolitical zones do.
“The SEGF secretariat lacks basic tools to work with. No official cars, no utility vehicles, no furnished office, no office equipment, irregular payment of salaries and allowances etc.”