The sad news was received recently of the death of 14 of the over 1,500 Imo indigenes who served in the Abia State service but were sadistically thrown out by the government without payment of any form of compensation.
It was obvious that they must have died mainly out of frustration and hopelessness arising from impecuniation for which they could no longer meet their obligations to their families, society and even to themselves.
The Abia State government justified the inhuman treatment it meted out to these fellow Igbos who had spent their youth serving it, with the unconvincing reason that it needed to shed weight to be able to pay the N18,000 minimum wage to workers. Ironically, recent media reports confirmed that the government has been owing some of its workers salaries for months!
It has become obvious that the Abia State government has abandoned these Imo people to their fate. But can we as Imo people, equally abandon them? Afterall, there is a popular Igbo saying that “one who is rejected by others does not reject himself”.
That is why we passionately appeal to our humane Governor, Owelle Ndigbo Rochas Okorocha, to urgently look into the plight of these our brothers and sisters.
It is true that the governor’s hands are quite full with the free education programme, the exciting multi-dimensional projects being simultaneously executed all over the state and the unending challenges posed by political opposition. Yet we believe that if the governor puts his mind to it, he would work out a relief for our distressed brothers and sisters as evidenced by the numerous philanthropic deeds under his rescue mission.
In a related matter, we also draw the governor’s attention to the plight of retirees of some State Parastatals who have not been paid their retirement entitlements.
Their case is as pathetic as that of the former Abia State workers and deserves immediate attention.
We have in mind retired Imo Newspapers and Imo Broadcasting service staff. Many of them have died out of hunger and frustration.
We trust that Owelle can do it to add to his other exploits that are bound to fill his name in gold across the pages of history. Besides, his name would be engraved on the walls of their hearts.