Two lanes of Bende road junction in Umuahia were blocked on Tuesday morning as members of staff of Umuahia North LGA of the State staged a protest over alleged non-payment of their salaries.This is even as the State government has advised the LGA staff to approach their respective banks to access their money.The aggrieved staff, who barricaded the Bende road tower junction during the protest, alleged that they had not received their three months salaries, which according to them, had left them in hunger and financial distress.

They appealed to the Abia State government to pay them their salaries while also declaring that they are not ghost workers.The workers, who locked the main gate to the local government secretariat, vowed not to reopen it until a senior staff of the State government came to address them.They further said they were always ready to present themselves for biometric or physical verification to confirm that they were genuine workers.The Umuahia North LGA workers denied evading the verification exercise.They, however, advised the State government to sanction any treasurer or senior official who refused to make their payroll available to the State government.A detachment of police officers who arrived at the scene to calm down the protesters did not achieve any result.

Reacting to the protest, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Alex Otti, Mr Kazie Uko said the LGA staff should not protest as their June salaries had been lodged with their respective banks.The CPS made it clear that the State government had already paid local government salary funds into the banks for their onward withdrawal, suggesting that the protesting staff may be having some unresolved issues with their banks.He pointed out that the protests may have been staged against some senior staff of the local government and not the Governor Otti’s government.

“Their June salary has been lodged in their banks. Let them go to their banks and resolve any issue they have with their banks. All I am telling you is that their June salaries have been lodged in the banks,” the Chief Press Secretary said.

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