…Swears in new SSG
From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha yesterday appealed to striking lecturers of the Imo State University (IMSU) to end their industrial action.
The governor, who made the appeal during the official swearing-in ceremony of the new Secretary to the state Government, Mr. George Eche, expressed shock that the university teachers embarked on an industrial action on the second week of March over delay in payment of February salary.
“It is shocking that the ASUU in IMSU told lecturers to go on strike in the second week of March because of February salary when they had been paid full salary for the month of January. This is shocking! It is not acceptable to the state government. ASUU in IMSU should call off the strike without delay because it is, by all standards, not justifiable and not advisable.”
Continuing, Okorocha said: “We shall continue to keep faith with workers’ welfare. If workers in the state did not go on strike over two months’ salary owed them, we would have continued to go out of our way to pay them full.
“But, they went on strike over two months salary and we then agreed with labour that they should take 70 per cent of the total income of the state to pay salaries and pensions, while the government takes only 30 per cent for capital expenditure. And now, they have seen the truth of what we have been telling them about the finances of the state…”
Okorocha further pointed out that his administration has kept faith in the past in payment of salaries and allowances until recently when the economic situation in the country became challenging .
His words: “The workers of Imo Sate should imbibe the spirit of sacrifice because of the prevailing economic situation at the moment.
“They should show concern. Imo people should also show understanding. The state has the highest number of ghost workers. The government has set aside N3.5billion for the job, job and factory, factory campaign of the state government which must be agro-based.”
Meanwhile, the Imo State governor has said the choice of George Eche as the new Secretary to the State Government was to bridge a gap, noting that in the state, Ngor Okpala, where the new scribe comes from, Ohaji/Egbema and Onuimo are the most marginalised local governments in the state.
He expressed optimism that Eche would leave up to expectation and also restated that his predecessor, Sir. Ejiogu was not sacked, adding that he also put in his best, reminding him too that every political appointment must end one day.
The new SSG, Sir Eche promised that he would bring the needed change to his office and expressed gratitude to the governor for finding him worthy of such position.