Abia workers sacked in 2011 beg Otti for help

A group of civil servants, who were disengaged from Abia State civil service in 2011 by the State government, have appealed to Governor Alex Otti to come to their aid by saving them from hunger and death.

The group, which operates under the aegis Association of Disengaged Workers of Abia State, ADWAS, and led by Mrs Fidelia Ihejirika, said that they were disengaged in 2011 by the then administration of Chief Theodore Orji, because they were ‘non-indigenes’ from Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi States.

Speaking to newsmen, Ihejirika regretted that 89 out of the about 4000 members of the disengaged workers, have so far died from hardship.

“Some of us went to our states and we were asked to go back to where we were working. And they were right. Some of us had put in 34 years of service in Abia and we’re at the verge of retiring, so, will States where we never worked all our lives pay our retirement benefits and pensions? It is absurd.

“Our only crime was that we are not from Abia State. Some of us are from Enugu, Imo, Anambra and Ebonyi states. Workers who are from other parts of the country were not affected by the sack. Only those of us from the South East,” she lamented.

Ihejirika also lamented that her members both living and dead, were never paid any form of compensation, entitlements or even the salary of the last month they worked.

She further said that the last administration of Okezie Ikpeazu refused to re-absorb them or pay them their entitlements, despite several pleadings they made to his administration.

“From 2011 up till now, we have not been paid anything, Okezie Ikpeazu came up as Governor, we thought he could have our entitlements paid, but he did not.

“At a point, we started pleading with his administration, thinking we would be recalled, but it was all in vain. Then, my question is this, where is our money, who is holding it?” She queried.

The leader of the sacked workers said a human rights group helped them to secure a victory against their sack at the Industrial Court but regretted that the Court rulings by Owerri and Port Harcourt branches were not obeyed by the Abia State government.

Recall that in October, 2013, the Abia State government, through a statement by then Commissioner for information, said that it had recalled the disengaged workers.

The Commissioner said that they were free to return to their former offices and even former positions.

However, Mrs Fidelia Ihejirike alleged that the former administration did not match its words with action.

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