Despite constant protests by doctors and pensioners, Okezie Ikpeazu, the outgoing governor of Abia, has denied owing salaries and pensions of workers in the state.
Ikpeazu told Channels Television on Thursday that salaries of “core” civil servants in the state were paid as and when due.
Recall that the governor-elect, Alex Otti had said Ikpeazu of owing workers’ salaries and refusing to pay pensioners for many months in the state.
Ikpeazu’s denial is despite protests by pensioners under the aegis of concerned Abia pensioners who are owed 45 months of pensions by the state government.
He, however, said payment of pensions in the state has been an issue in the past 24 years, adding that his administration met a backlog of unpaid salaries and pensions.
According to him, payment of salaries of 29,000 workers out of 31,000 civil servants in the state is “up-to-date”, adding that the remaining 2,000 workers are working for parastatals.
He added that since parastatals are generating revenue for the state, their workers should be paid by the agencies and not the state government.
“I do not pay their salaries because they are revenue-generating agencies of the government,” he said.
“I don’t run away from responsibilities. The issue of pension has been there perennially since the past 24 years.
“I did as much as I could do. This administration passed through three recessions. When I came into office, within three months of my administration, I paid 11 months’ arrears of salaries.
“For somebody to come and make a sweeping statement that salaries are not being paid, that is a lie.
“I’m not owing any core civil servant any salary.”