N5.3 bn Paris refund: Abia commences payment, probes 130 ghost teachers

Abia state government on Thursday said it had commenced the process of disbursing the N5.3 billion Paris club refund for payment of arrears of salaries owed Abia workers.

The State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Obinna Oriaku disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Umuahia.

According to him, the decision followed the resolution of the committee set up by the Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, for the exercise.

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The Commissioner said the committee intends to source for extra N700m to augment  the N5.3 b to help offset the arrears owed worker.

He also revealed that the funds have been moved to designated banks for the payment while workers including council staff,pensioners,teachers are expected to start receiving their pay latest by next week.

The Oriaku said that some workers including primary and secondary school teachers will receive two months salaries while some MDAs will also get their leave allowances.

While commending the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in the state for shelving its planned industrial action, he also stated that the state government is in talks with the NUT to suspend its proposed strike.

He however expressed dismay over the discovery of about 130 ghost primary school teachers during the last biometric exercise conducted by the state government, adding that about 300 local government employees were discovered to have entered the service with fake certificate while 3000 staff of the LGA were absent at the biometric exercise.

Meanwhile, the Auditor-General of the local government has been mandated to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the menace with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

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