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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Kogi government admits owing director who committed suicide

The Kogi State Government Sunday, admitted that it owed the late Edward Soje eight months salary before he committed suicide by hanging himself on October 16.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had reported that the dangling body of  Soje was found on Saturday in Lokoja on a tree behind the mammy market at the Maigumeri barracks, the Nigeria Army Command Record.

The 54-year-old man is believed to have taken his life barely 10 days after his wife of 17 years gave birth to a set of male triplets in a private hospital in Abuja. The couple had been childless before then.




Soje, a Grade Level 16 Officer in the Kogi State Teaching Service Commission, was reported to being owed 11 months’ salary arrears as at the time he took his life.

Family sources said that Soje had before the incident been going through a lot of financial difficulties due to non-payment of his salary for 11 months by the Kogi State Government.

As a way out, he was said to have sold his only car and a three-bedroom bungalow he was building at Otokiti area of Lokoja.

He had before killing himself travelled to Abuja and left a suicide note for the wife who also works in one of the federal ministries.

“Psalm 121:3 God will not suffer your foot to be moved: He that keepeth you will not slumber. Amen. You and the three boys, the God Almighty will keep you and prosper you, amen. I love you,”  according to the suicide note.

The Kogi state Head of Service, Deborah Ogunmola admitted in a statement in Lokoja is Soje being owed eight months salary. She said that Soje received his monthly salary up till December 2016, when it was suddenly stopped by the government.

“His pay was stopped after proof emerged that he falsified his age records. His confession to the offence is on video to justify government stoppage of his salary, ’’Ogunmola said.

Ogunmola, however, explained that following engagements with the labour which spanned several months, the Kogi governor magnanimously commuted the disciplinary action due against Soje and other certain categories of offenders by granting them pardon.

“Pardoned members staff were processed for reinstatement and payment in batches. Mr Soje was in the September 2017 batch and he was aware of this fact. The Kogi State Teaching Service Commission, where he worked has forwarded a template for payment to government and Mr Soje was aware that he was listed to receive six months back pay.“

According to her, this leaves only 2 months (August and September) outstanding.

Ogunmola, who also hailed from Ogori, the same town with the deceased, said the government was saddened in no small measure by the alleged action of Soje.

She, however, deplored media reports attributing Soje’s alleged decision to commit suicide to non-payment of salary.




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