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Governor Okorocha’s Aides, Others Sue Governor Over Unpaid Salaries And Severance Allowances

By Iwuala Emperor
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Three of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s present aides Barr. Steve Asimobi, Chief Tony Black Nduka and Dr Kelechi Okpaleke are among some litigants who have sued Governor Rochas Okorocha at the Owerri Division of National Industrial Court for a total of =N=255, 588,382.82k of unpaid salaries and severance allowances.

The suit which was first filed in the early days of Okorocha’s first tenure in Imo State suffered a lot of setbacks before it came to the Industrial Court sitting in Owerri.

In the case with Suit No. NIC/OW/04/2014, Dr Okaleke who served as a Commissioner in the Ohakim’s administration is claiming a total of =N=4,879,927.70k, Barr Asimobi a Special Adviser in the regime claims =N=4,588,601.2k while Chief Nduka’s own is =N=4,107,489 as a former Senior Special Assistant.

Other claimants in the suit include the former State Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice Barr. Ken Njemanze (SAN), Prof. Jude Njoku, Prof. Nnamdi Obiaraeri, Dame Anagam Ononuju, Dr. Amanze Obi, Chief Longias Anyanwu, Barr. Emperor Iwuala and a host of others. Barr. Njemanze is appearing for himself and for other claimants in the suit.

Also sued in the matter is the state Accountant-General and Attorney-General.

The governor and his team had earlier filed a motion to stop the case on ground of jurisdiction but were disappointed recently as the court dismissed the application.

The matter has been adjourned to 22ndof October for hearing.

It could be recalled that when Governor Okorocha won governorship election newly in Imo state, as the then governor-elect wrote to banks stopping all financial transactions with the then outgoing regime. It is said that this action prevented the payment of April and May 2011 salaries of all public servants in the state as at then.

However, after the governor was later sworn into office, it is said that he refused to pay April and May 2011 salaries and severance allowances to all government appointees that served in Ohakim’s administration; a decision that was then widely applauded by many people.

However, it is reported that all entireties to the governor to have the entitlements paid met deaf ears which may have culminated in the law suit.

In a similar development, it is said that Governor Okorocha has allegedly refused to pay statutory entitlements to Ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim and his Deputy Lady Ada Okwuonu since the duo left office in May 2011. Investigations however proved that Ex-Governor Achike Udenwa, his Deputy Ebere Udeagu and former Deputy Governor Douglas Acholonu who formerly served in the state are promptly paid their statutory entitlements..

When contacted, the former media aides to Ohakim and Okwuonu Mr. Henry Ekpe and Barr. Emperor Iwuala respectively confirmed the story as true.