WOMEN of Umuobiakwa community in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State have clarified the issue of non- payment of eight months salaries allegedly owed over hundred of them who sweep one of the roads constructed in the council, saying that they were not staff of the state government.
Some of the women had, last week, been quoted as saying that they were being owed for eight months and pleaded with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to intervene.
But in a twist to the development, the women said at the weekend: “We engaged voluntarily in the sweeping of that road since it was constructed to show appreciation to our son, the state governor, who is from our community for giving us the first ever perfectly and concretely tarred road in our community”.
They added: “It was four months after we had been sweeping and keeping the road clean that the wife of the governor, Deaconness Nkechi Ikpeazu, magnanimously approved a stipend of N10,000 each for the over one hundred women engaged in the exercise but not as staff of the state government”.
According to them, the stipend was an encouragement and benevolence from the wife of the governor who saw that many of them were widows and that it was a continuation of her support to women who have benefitted from her other projects to the people of Abia.
A woman leader in the Area, Mrs Adanma Festus Nwamuo, blamed some women in the community who had benefitted from the magnanimity of the governor’s wife but turned themselves into willing tools of opposition politicians to say that they were being owed by the state government.
She said: “ I want to state categorically that none of the women is a staff member of the state government as there is no appointment letter to that effect but some of the women mistook the stipend for salary and started complaining even when they knew it was a voluntary service.”
An aide in the office of the wife of the governor corroborated the statement saying that the gesture was just a way by Deaconess Ikpeazu to appreciate the women for their voluntary services all though she acknowledged that the stipend had not been regular.