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Garnishee order, plot by Madumere to punish Imo workers, pensioners—Uzodinma

Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba has revealed that the recent garnishee order obtained by a former Deputy Governor of the State, Prince Eze Madumere, was  an elaborate plot by him to destabilize the State by depriving workers and pensioners of their May salary.

Emelumba said on Friday that unfolding facts indicate that the police that sealed the Zenith bank offices in Owerri on Wednesday were on an illegal operation.

He said already four staffers of the Industrial Court who were suspected to have led the police to carry out the illegal operations have been arrested by the police in Owerri .

The suspects have been asked to disclose from where they got the police they took to Zenith bank as both Zone 9 and the state police command have denied sending any of their officers for such an assignment.

Emelumba said from the emerging facts,  it was clear that the former Deputy Governor was  in concert with some opposition politicians  to sabotage the state’s economy and ultimately embarrass Governor Hope Uzodinma who had pledged to pay workers and pensioners promptly at the end of every month.

Expatiating on the garnishee order which led to the sealing of branches of Zenith Bank in the state, Emelumba said the action was a calculated attempt to cripple the economy of the State by denying workers their pay for the month of May, 2022.

“When you look at the timing of the order and the lightening speed of its planned implementation, and knowing now that the entire operation was an illegality, you can see that it was a well executed plot to destabilize the state and rubbish the existing sparkling record of His Excellency who pledged to pay workers and pensioners promptly at the end of every month”, Emelumba averred.

According to the Commissioner, it was instructive that the N1.9b which the former Deputy Governor claims to be his entitlement is almost equivalent of what the Government pays to workers monthly.

” For all intents and purposes, the plot was to hijack that whooping amount from the account of Government and castrate it from meeting its obligations to workers, thus precipitating financial anarchy in the state”, Emelumba bemoaned.

He regretted that efforts made in the past by Governor Uzodinma to settle the matter amicably even when it was not his administration that incurred the debt were scuttled because Madumere wanted to make a political capital out of the issue.

Said he: “When he approached the present Government with a judgement asking for the payment of N1.9b, he was told that it was outrageous. A select committee sat with him and it was established that his legitimate entitlements was N144million. As a responsible Government, we were prepared to settle that. But he rejected the offer. “Indeed, it might interest Nigerians to know that Madumere insisted that he should be paid imprest for the period he was impeached, forgetting that another person was in that office. There is no where that the legitimate claim should be more than that N144m, yet one man wants to collect N1.9b alone, the equivalent of one month salaries of Imo  workers.”

Emelumba noted that when the former Deputy Governor remained obdurate, the Government was forced to appeal the judgment of the Industrial Court.

“Yes, we have appealed the judgment because the lower court erred in law by awarding him the amount in excess of what he is constitutionally entitled to. By next week, the legal fireworks will resume at the appeal court,” he submitted.

Emelumba noted that since the matter was already before the court of Appeal, the garnishee order has been vitiated and the affected bank free to open its doors to its customers.

He said he was confident that all parties to the suit will refrain from committing contempt of court and patiently wait for the pronouncement of the appellate Court.