Obiano clears 8 years' salary arrears due Water Corp, ANSEPA staff

By The Citizen

In keeping with his prom­ise to revive moribund establishments and trans­form workers' fortunes in Anambra State, the state governor, Chief Willie Obi­ano, has graciously lifted the burden off the shoulders of the staff of the State Water Corporation and 108 for­mer Anambra Sanitation and Environment Protection Agency (ANSEPA) members of staff by clearing outstand­ing arrears of salaries and allowances owed the two gov­ernment parastatals by pre­vious administrations to the tune of N1, 863,197,452.76 (approximately N1.92 bil­lion).

Of this grand total, N1, 502,997,239.76 was paid to the staff of the state Water Corporation, who were owed arrears of salaries and allow­ances from 2000, when Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju was governor, to the immediate past administration.

On the other hand, N360, 140,213 being the balance of N711, 229,000 outstanding salaries and allowances of about 100 staff of former AN­SEPA, now called Anambra State Waste Management Au­thority (ASWAMA), was set­tled by Governor Obiano, be­ing the amount due while the matter was in court.

The former ANSEPA staff were sacked by the past ad­ministration but are presently seeking reinstatement for un­lawful dismissal. Judgment is yet to be given on the matter.

This pay-off is part of the grand plan of the Obiano administration to heal old wounds and seal every pos­sible crack that could stand in the way of his efforts to move Anambra State forward.

While giving a directive for the liquidation of the arrears of salaries and allowances, Governor Obiano also set up a committee to ensure that the payment was made to real staff and not ghost workers.

It was gathered that the ar­rears of salaries and allowanc­es from May 2000 to Septem­ber 2005 stood at not less than N411, 006,221.11 between the intervening periods of gov­ernors Chinwoke Mbadinuju and Chris Ngige while the arrears of salaries and allow­ances hovered around 435, 471, 803.87 from 2006 to 2008 when MEDAL Consul­tants were engaged to X-ray the situation after, which the wage bill skyrocketed to bil­lions of naira.

Though the last adminis­tration had in 2007, released about N200 million as part payment for the outstanding debts it inherited and incurred, the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Rec­reational Service Employees (AUPCCSTRSE) through a suit No. NICN/ABJ/120/2013 instituted on behalf of its af­filiated workers, dragged the immediate past administration to the Industrial Arbitration Court over the huge indebted­ness running into billions.

The union won the case and the past state government filed an appeal but lost it, compel­ling the court to issue a Gar­nishee Order and the judgment was documented in the Feder­al Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.

Following the victory of the union, the law abiding in­cumbent governor of the state, Chief Obiano did not waste time to liquidate the arrears of N1, 502,997,239.76 for Water Corporation staff and N360, 140,213 for ANSEPA staff, bringing the total fund re­leased to N1, 863,197,452.76 (approximately N1.92 billion.)

Anambra State Water Cor­poration came into being by virtue of Edict 3 of 1999 while the Federal Government of Nigeria Official Gazette No. 55 of November 24, 1977 Vol­ume 64 declared it as a public service. - The Sun