After 14 Years, Anambra State Govt Signs Pact On Out-Of-Court Settlement With The Defunct State Water Corporation

By Ejike Abana

After fourteen years of the lingering issue that existed between the government of Anambra State and the Water Corporation, an agreement has been signed between the concerned parties to settle the matter outside the court.

The agreement was signed at the Office of the Head of Service, Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.

To put the records straight, the pact was between the state government and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Seevice Technical and Recreation Service Employee (AUPCTRE), the defunct State Water Corporation and Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA).

The agreement followed the recommendations of three Committees set up by Governor Chukwuma Soludo to address the issue.

The committees include the Out of Court Settlement Committee, Technical Committee, Verification Committee, and Biometrics Committee.

Among the outcomes of the Committee report was the approval by Governor Soludo for some staff who are found fit to be absorbed into service after the conduct of a needs assessment exercise, to which the union accepted. Other staff who were verified and are not fit or have reached retirement age will be paid off as agreed.

Speaking on the recorded breakthrough, the Head of Service, Barr. Theodora Okwy Igwegbe, mni who described Governor Soludo as a jinx breaker, having sorted out the age long issue among the parties, thanked him for stepping into the matter.

For the National President of AUCPTRE, Mr Benjamin Anthony, Governor Soludo and the Solution team have demonstrated sincerity about resolving the matter and called on their members to exercise patience in having the government fulfil their own part of the bargain.

The Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Sylvia Ifemeje, the Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr. Julius Chukwuemeka, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the State Water Resources Management and Urban Water Supply Asset Holdings Cooperation, Engr Ikeobi Ejiofor, the Accountant General, Dr. Chukwudi Okoli, State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Comrade Humphrey Nwafor, among others, also witnessed the agreement signing ceremony.

Recall that the issue between the state government and Anambra State Water Corporation dates back to 2009.

A judgment was delivered by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria on 3rd June, 2019, the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) which was between the Union and Anambra state government through the Federal Ministry of Labour as well as the National Industrial Court.

Eventhough the Union won the IAP award, nothing was paid to them, until 2014 when some money was released to pay part of workers’ salaries.

The Anambra state Water Corporation and Anambra state Environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA) have been functional until there was an increase in minimum wage in 2005.

The state government stopped giving them subvention because of the wage increment. As a result, unpaid salaries accumulated and the union sued the state government.

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