The Okezie Ikpeazu led Abia State Government has explained the why March salary has not been paid to civil servants.
Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka, said: “Around the end of March, ‘Abians’ and indeed, the public, woke up to the shocking news that a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja had granted an order freezing accounts of the state government in all banks in Nigeria.
“This order was made pursuant to an ex parte application made by Uche Eni.
“For the uninitiated, an ex parte application is an application made before a court without notice to the other party to the suit.
“It is allowed under the rules of courts for reasons I cannot explain here now.
“The implication is that Abia State Government had no knowledge of the matter until the news of the court order became public.
“When that news broke, some persons rejoiced, including civil servants. In their little minds, it was a fantastic news, so that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his people will not get money to carry and run away with.
“Incidentally, the same people who laughed when that order was made are now complaining that March salaries have not been paid to civil servants.
“At least, it is good for the world to know that what civil servants are owed in Abia State today is the salary for March. This is important because the impression they have created is that Ikpeazu hasn’t paid any salary to anyone since he became governor.”
“When that order was made on or about March 31, the court fixed the return date for April 5. What it meant was that there was absolutely nothing anyone could do on the matter until that day.
“The order was made on a Friday and all the banks were put on notice immediately because the banks were respondents in the matter.
“So all accounts operated by the state government were under lock and key. The best we could do was to file necessary papers in court, while waiting for April 5.
“Curiously, the applicant in the matter, Eni, has zero contractual relationship with the Abia State Government. Absolutely zero.
“He is neither a contractor nor a supplier nor anything. He simply described himself as an ‘Abian’ from Ohafia Local Government.
“As a lawyer, I am still at a loss how a High Court will grant such a serious order, which will shut down completely a subnational government in this country via an ex parte application.
“By virtue of that order, no office in Abia State can access funds in any bank in Nigeria. This includes the judiciary, house of assembly, local governments, hospitals, etc.”