From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Civil servants in Cross River State have protested over non-payment of four years and six months salaries.
The civil servants numbering over hundred took to the streets of Calabar carrying placards with with different inscriptions such as ” over 3years without salary, who did we offend?, yet we go to work everyday” ” the injustice I too much” ” labourer deserves his wages” ” Governor Ayade pls pay us our salary”.
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The angry protesters marched round some major streets of the metropolis and ended up at the state secretariat where they barricaded the two main gates in front and at the back, thereby obstructing vehicular movements around the Murtala Mohammed Highway axis.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the coordinator, Mr. David Iyaya, lamented the plight of the over 2, 000 civil servants from various ministries, departments and agencies employed by the state government in 2018 but have not received a dime since their employment.
According to him that they are on a peaceful protest to the office of the Head of Service (HoS) and to tell the world what they are passing through.
He said: “We are peaceful citizens that is why we are demonstrating peacefully. We want the world to know our suffering. Five years is not five days. The government has nothing again to tell us.
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“We demand the sack of the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Payroll Matters, Mr. John Odey, for not fighting for the payrolling of the workers.
“We are here to vent our anger. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed. Instead of government sticking to the MOU, they are calling for recruitment, that people should go and submit their credentials at the job placement unit. We have lost four of our members and one just died last week at the teaching hospital.” Iyaya lamented.
Reacting to the workers protest in a telephone interview, the HoS, Mr. Ogbang Akwaji, said: “Those are not my workers but they say they have appointment letters even though I have not sighted it. You should first of all have sighted it.
“There is nothing new about those calibre of persons. They are flaunting appointment letters but his Excellency the Governor clearly stated that he did not give authorisation. So if you have appointment letter into the service and the governor said he did not authorize then what you are holding amounts to nothing .
“The governor addressed them at the stadium and labour listed their matter as one of the items in the Memorandum of Understanding and we are on it. This protest is unnecessary but we will engage them at the appropriate time.”