The Kogi State government on Sunday said a director in the service of the state that committed suicide last week, Edward Sodje, was not paid his salary because he falsified his age. The government said he was last paid in December 2016 when the screening committee discovered that he had doctored his records of service.
A statement by the Head of Service (HOS), in the state, Deborah Ogunmola, said the death of the level 16 director in the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), was not caused by non-payment of salary.
Ogunmola, who expressed sadness over the development, said the records of employment and service of the deceased did not induce the state government over his death.
Speaking on the issue, she said, “He (Sodje) continued to receive his salaries until December 2016 even while the Staff Screening and Verification Exercise was ongoing. His pay was stopped after proof emerged that he falsified his age records. His confession to the offence is on video.
” Following engagements with Labour which spanned several months, the Kogi State Governor magnanimously commuted the disciplinary action due against certain categories of offenders by grant of pardon. Mr Soje fell into one of the categories.
“Pardoned 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 works has forwarded a template for payment to Government and Mr Soje was aware that he was listed to receive 6 months back pay, leaving only 2 months (August and September) outstanding.
“Edward Soje was not just my staff, he was also married to my sister-in-law. His death is shocking, both as one related to him in some way, and one responsible for him in an official capacity.
“I met with him earlier last week and we discussed his situation, including the progress made in resolving his employment issues. There was no hint of this horrible decision in his demeanour neither did he appear to me as one who was depressed, let alone contemplating suicide. I am therefore understandably shocked by all of this.
“Government condoles with his family, especially his wife and three children. While we will not intrude into their grief over their sad loss, we will stand with them through this.”
It would be recalled that Sodje last week committed suicide days after his wife delivered a triplet after 17 years of marriage.
He was said to have hanged himself on a tree beside Mammy market at the Maigumeri housing the Nigeria Army Command Records, Lokoja.