Umahi & Onyike

Chris Nwanju

The Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi has reportedly ordered the State Ministry of Finance in Abakaliki to henceforth stop the payment of monthly pensions to one of his critics – a former Commissioner for Information in the State, Comrade Abia Onyike.

A reliable source close the State Ministry of Finance told our correspondent that the Governor passed an oral instruction to payroll officers in the Ministry to stop paying Onyike’s pensions since June, 2020.

Reacting to the development when our reporter sought his reaction on the matter, Onyike confirmed that he has not been receiving his monthly pensions since June this year.

Onyike further alleged that Gov. Umahi had blocked the payment of his gratuity since he came into office in 2015.

Onyike said he may be compelled to drag Gov. Umahi and the State Government to Court, if by the end of this year the government continues to withhold his hard-earned and legitimate entitlements.

“I joined the Civil Service in February, 1980 under late Governor Sam Mbakwe of old Imo State and retired untainted as Director of Information after 35 years of meritorious service in Ebonyi State in August, 2014, before Umahi became Governor. I think it is morally and spiritually wicked for Gov. Umahi to come now and start withholding my life entitlements. This is a terrible and vicious aberration”, Onyike said.

Comrade Onyike, a former Deputy National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) had criticised Umahi’s Government for engaging in white elephant projects, neglecting the welfare of state workers, non appointment of Permanent Secretaries in the Governor’s first tenure(2015-2019) and his polarisation/ proscription of some trade unions in the state.

Gov. Umahi had dragged Onyike to Court in a N10 billion Defamation Case which is still pending in Court, but the Governor’s recent directive to the Finance Ministry to stop payment of Onyike’s entitlements is being seen as an illegal act of political tyranny.