By NewsCritic reporters
The Ebem Ohafia development union in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State has demanded for the sum of N450, 000 (Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) from the Transition Committee Chairman of the local government area, Hon Uba Ukagha to remove the native restriction placed on the office of the council Head of Service, HOS, Dr Dom Onuzurigbo, following the workers protest over non-payment of salaries to some members of staff of the local government.
Sources disclosed to this reporter that leaders of the community asked for this amount to enable them purchase the relevant items that is required to offer the traditional sacrifice to unseal the office of the HOS, which was traditionally sealed on August 5, 2019. The amount, according to an elder of the community who is privy to the activities of the union, the amount would be used to purchase cow, goat, native hot drinks, Kola nuts and other materials required for the ritual to remove the restriction which was carried out with the use of tender palm fronds to form barrier at the office of the HOS.
NewsCritic had reported on the attempt by aggrieved staff of Ohafia Local government area to manhandle the HOS over issues relating to non-payment of salaries of some staff, who were said to have failed in the biometrics capturing exercise of ‘clocking’ before payment. The aggrieved workers under the aegis of concerned workers of Ohafia Local Government in a petition addressed to the chairman local government service commission requested for the redeployment of Onwuzurigbo from Ohafia local government over alleged highhandedness.
However, in a counter letter from the office of the TC Chairman Ohafia local government, Uba Ukagha addressed to the chairman local government service commission, the local government condemned what it termed “the unguided and ill-informed action of some members of staff who mobilized themselves against the HOS”.
The letter which was signed by Iroegbu Ndubuisi Friday for the TC Chairman stated that the issue of “clocking and don’t pay” which is the immediate cause of the attack was not the initiative of the Transition Committee Chairman, HOS and management of Ohafia local government authority.
In the letter dated August 6, 2019 the local government council said that the posting of Onuzuruigbo has been a blessing to the entire LGA and requested that a full blown investigation should be carried out over the attack incident on the HOS.
At the time of filing this report, it was gathered that a panel headed by the Commissioner 1 in the local government service commission, Hon Longman Nwachukwu has been mandated to investigate the incident. To this end, the workers who signed the petition against the HOS have been invited to appear before the committee on Monday August 19, 2019.
It was also gathered that the affected workers have been paid their salaries while peace is yet to fully return to the LGA. At the time of press there was no confirmation whether the TC Chairman has made available the amount to the Ebem development union to carry out the traditional exercise of removing the prohibition that bars the HOS from accessing his office.