Otti denies freezing Abia accounts, accuses Ikpeazu of attempts to evade payment of salaries

Ikpeazu and Otti

Abia Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti of the main opposition Labour Party, has denied any involvement in the freezing of Abia State Government Accounts. 

Otti rather alleged that the freezing of Government accounts was a smokescreen by the out-going Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to wittingly evade payment of workers’ outstanding salaries as well as Government contractors on the excuse that Government accounts are frozen. 

Abia State Government accounts domiciled in various commercial banks were last week, frozen on the order of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. 

The State Government had in a statement by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Eze Chikamnayo, accused Otti of masterminding the court order.

Government, in the statement, accused Otti of being vindictive, warning him that he has not yet been sworn in as the Governor. 

The statement read in part: “The danger in this macabre dance is that if they continue this way, sooner than later, the atmosphere of peace and security carefully sustained, enjoyed and even taken for granted by some Abians will suddenly evaporate – giving way to a new wave of killings and persecution under the gestapo style of an imperial impetuous leadership.” 

But Otti in a swift response through his Aide, Kazie Uko, said the futile attempt by the State Government to link him with the account freezing was to provide an excuse to shirk responsibility.

He challenged Ikpeazu to squarely face governance until May 29, and stop using court order as a smokescreen.

According to Uko, “a source who is conversant with goings on within Abia Government’s circle says the accounts freezing saga is a deliberate ploy by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led Government in Abia State to avoid payments of outstanding salary arrears of civil servants, salaries for the remainder of two months the administration has to stay in office and debts owed contractors for jobs done.”

He said that the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity insisted that the State Government could not claim ignorance of the court case alleging that Government considered the option as the only way it could avert the “humongous debts said to be running into billions of Naira.

”The source revealed that the order coming shortly after Governor Ikpeazu boasted on national television that he would pay all debt accumulated by his administration, was a deliberate plan to push the burden of payment to the incoming administration of Dr. Otti and save itself further shame and resentment by Abia people, who had through the ballot box ended the 24 years of PDP hegemony and bad leadership in the state”, he said. 

Otti challenged the State Government to publish the account balance in the affected accounts to justify his claims.

 “The accounts in question have little or no credit balances in them, compared to the humongous amount of the state’s indebtedness to its workforce and local contractors. If Ikpeazu and his government are serious and insist that they are not behind this litigation, let them publish the balances of the frozen accounts for Abians and Nigerians to see. 

“What the outgoing PDP Government in Abia is trying to do is to set the people of Abia against the widely-accepted incoming Labour Party (LP) Government to be led by Dr. Otti, who, “I can assure you does not have any hand in the matter”, Uko said. 

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