Over 100 workers of the Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Thursday, staged a peaceful protest to the state House of Assembly for members to prevail on the Chairman of the council, Hope Ikiriko, to pay their 13 months’ salaries.
The workers, who marched to the Assembly complex with placards with various inscriptions, said they were denied their salaries because they were non-indigenes of the local government area.
Punch reports that the protesting workers said they had exhausted all available internal mechanisms in ventilating their grievances but to no avail.
Speaking on behalf of the protesting workers, Peace Ina, said they were passing through hardship as a result of the council’s refusal to pay them.
She said, “A total of 110 of us are here to ask for our unpaid 13 months’ salaries; the Chairman of the council, Hope Ikiriko, said we should go back to our local government areas and that we are not supposed to work in Ahoada West.
“We have written letters to all the appropriate authorities pleading for our wages, but to no avail. We are going through untold hardship; our children are sick and dying because of hunger.
“We stayed at home during the state-wide lockdown without food; we were sick and there is no money to buy drugs. Our rents are due and our landlords are chasing us out of their property, because we have no money to pay our rents; meanwhile, we were duly employed.”
Another protester added that the workers had all passed through different personnel scrutiny at the council to ensure that they were not ghost workers and wondered why the chairman had refused to pay them when they had done nothing wrong.
He said, “We have undergone different scrutiny at the instance of the chairman; we went through four different stages of personnel audit and passed.
“Before, we were over 300 staff members affected, but some indigenes of the local government, who were affected, went and met with the chairman and he resumed the payment of their salaries.
“That is why we are here at the Rivers State House of Assembly to beg the lawmakers to intervene in our situation and prevail on Hope Ikiriko to pay us our outstanding salaries.”
When contacted, the Special Assistant to the Chairman, Ahoada West Local Government Council on Media and Publicity, Madu Madueke, said no worker of the council was being owed salaries, adding that the payroll indicated that all staff members receive their salaries regularly.
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