Port Harcourt — The Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday directed the State Hospitals Management Board (RSHMB) to pay 10 years salary arrears to Princewill Elekima, a staff of the Board who was wrongly dismissed from service.
Elekima was accused of stealing and misappropriation of N11000 property of the Board in 1989. He was subsequently dismissed from service without giving him fair hearing.
Consequently, he petitioned the office of the then Attorney General (AG) of the state Ministry of Justice to seek redress, following which the AG set up a panel to resolve the issue.
At the end of investigations, the Panel recommended that Elekima be re-instated and his salary arrears from 1989 when he was sacked to 1999 when the investigation was concluded to be paid.
The alleged stolen amount, would however, be deducted from the salary arrears to be paid him.In complying with the panel's recommendations, Elekima was re-instated to work, the said stolen amount deducted, but the balance of the salary owed him was not paid.He, therefore, petitioned the state assembly this year, asking the lawmakers to appeal to the state government to pay him his money.
Members of the House Committee on Public Complaints and Petitions, in their report yesterday, cleared Elekima of the allegation and recommended that the state government should pay him the salary arrears in the interest of justice and fairness.
Speaker of the House, Ikwunyi Awaji-Ibani condemned the board's action and directed them to pay the victim the balance of the salary arrears as recommended by the AG Panel.
"Justice anywhere is justice all over. What is unjust is unjust. Public office is not a private company and should not by any reason run as one. "A leader must at all times see everybody as the same, irrespective of race, gender or nativity. In as much as you are occupying public position, you must attempt to benefit all," he said.