Monday, 3 March 2014
Isoko North Council Workers Mob Personnel Boss, Allege Lodging of Funds in Private Account
Pandemonium broke out this morning when angry council workers of the Isoko North local government area of Delta State mobbed the Head of Personnel Management (HPM), Mr. Bernard Chigwe, for allegedly lodging the monthly allocation to the council into his private bank account.
In a previous SaharaReporters account on August 30, sources at the council alleged that Mr. Chigwe was in the habit of funneling part of its monthly allocations back to the Secretary to the Stage Government (SSG), Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay.
Today’s uproar lasted several hours, our correspondent gathered, and disrupted official activity, leaving scared workers and some individuals who had visited the council for other purposes scampering for safety.
It was reliably gathered that the embattled HPM had informed the workers that the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, only released half of the allocation for the payment of staff salaries. For that purpose, he told them, their salaries might be deferred pending when the full allocation was released.
Trouble was said to have started when the Treasurer to the Local Government and other account staff revealed that the HPM had lied, saying that the allocation already released was enough to pay salaries and accomplish other things, but that the HPM had lodged the money in a private bank account.
Said a source at the council: “The governor released half allocation last week which made it impossible for us to receive our last month’s salaries. It was only early this week that Governor Uduaghan released some funds to be joined so that we can have our August salaries but the HPM is deceiving us that the allocation won’t be enough for our salaries not knowing that he has stocked the allocation into a private bank account. We only discovered through some of his close pals in the council that he has been perpetrating this illegality for quite some time now before nemesis caught up with him today.”
It was learnt that on learning of this, some aggrieved workers marched straight to the HPM’s office where he was mobbed before some of the staff whisked him away on a commercial motorcycle.
Council sources who witnessed the drama told our correspondent that it took the intervention of some of the council staff to prevent the HPM’s official vehicle from being set ablaze by the angry workers after his escape.
It was also gathered that before the bubble burst, the embattled Chigwe had concluded plans to obtain about N20 million in loans from a new generation bank even when he had lodged the council’s allocation in a private account.
The angry workers called for the immediate transfer of Mr. Chigwe whom they described as enemy of progress in the council, warning him to desist from every illegality being perpetrated in the council.
As of the time of this report, the HPM of Isoko South council, Mr. Lucky Edoh, was said to have intervened, but unsuccessfully, in the conflict.
Efforts to reach Mr. Chigwe by phone or SMS today were unsuccessful, but one of his close colleagues in the office who pleaded for anonymity confirmed the incident at the council secretariat, describing the situation as “unfortunate”.
It would be recalled that in our previous story, council sources alleged that once workers’ salaries have been accounted for from the monthly allocation, Mr. Chigwe would remit whatever was left to Mr. Macaulay, who hails from the area.