Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has constituted a committee to investigate 77 months’ pension arrears owed to retirees in the state.
A statement issued in Owerri, the state capital by the Secretary to the State Government, Uche Onyeagucha, stated that the committee would investigate why the past administration was not able to pay the retirees.
The committee is to conclude the assignment in two months.
According to the statement, the committee would among other things, recommend the best approach the government would explore in offsetting the pensions and gratuities.
Members of the committee, which is headed by Evans Uzokwe, include Nnaemeka Nnoromele, Tim Azubuike, Mike Ndubuaku, Chima Nwanna, and Livy Ashiegbu.
In a related development, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Ndukwe Nnawuchi, SAN, has raised the alarm that the N70bn judgment debt left behind by the administration of former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, was affecting the smooth running of Ihedioha’s government.
Nnawuchi, who spoke in a statement, disclosed that pressure from judgment creditors was affecting the “smooth running of government.”
He alleged that Okorocha deliberately incurred the judgment debts to frustrate the incumbent administration.
Parts of the statement read, “The judgment debts totalling a whooping sum of over N20bn were incurred by the immediate past administration of Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha and now inherited by the new administration of His Excellency, Emeka Ihedioha.
“The present administration is as a result inundated and consistently harassed, embarrassed and put under pressure by the judgment creditors, whose drive to execute the judgments, orders and garnishee proceedings has brought the smooth running of government to a near halt, leading to an imminent collapse of government.
“This unenviable situation was deliberately hatched by the administration of former Governor Rochas Anayo Okorocha to stifle the administration of his successor in office.”
Nnawuzie, however, said the Ihedioha-led administration had commenced moves to resolve the situation.
Meanwhile, the government has decried what it called rot in the state’s agricultural sector in the past eight years.
The Senior Special Assistant to the state government on agriculture, Mr Uche Odozor, described what happened in the sector in those years as “wickedness”.
The governor’s aide, who spoke during a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Mrs Chima Irene,
Said the sector had no policy or blueprint.
“The governor has really come to work and he is passionate about eradicating poverty in the state. It is his desire to make sure that nobody goes to bed hungry,” he said.
In a related development, the Chief Of Staff to Ihedioha, Chris Okewulonu, has told Okorocha to stop distracting his successor with his “empty lamentations and cheap blackmails.”
The Chief of Staff, who spoke in Owerri, said, “It is ludicrous that Okorocha has now begun to hallucinate and see apparition of Governor Ihedioha, even in his dreams, when in actual fact, the governor has left him to the judgment of rule of law and Imo people.”