In the last 6 months or so, Cross River State has witnessed numerous protests by individuals and group of organized associations over issues of nonpayment of salaries; gratuities, arrears, non-effect of promotional benefits, illegal disengagement of duly engaged Civil Servants in the cloak of concealed redundancy policy where staff were layoff without due process. Surprisingly, this Government and the previous ones did the recruitment exercises.
Downsizing is not a new trend in labour sector if properly done – and mostly where there is absolutely no means of paying staff. But, systematic dismissal as being observed in our dear State is evil, reprehensible, pernicious, an administrative malfeasance and injustice against the dismissed staff.
Sincerely, it calls for concern and action if the Government is able of paying and handsomely rewarding political rabble rousers, hallelujah-boys, enfants terrible, ballot box stuffers and snatchers, Uriah Heeps, Victor Frankensteins, e-rats and henchmen punctually while abandoning the real workforce of the State: senior citizens, serving staff and layoff recruits to wallow in penury. This is unacceptable.
It baffles me when those that served (serving) the State meritoriously are owed salary and gratuity while elections riggers are not. This brings to the front burner the case of 29 weeping Magistrates and others.
Some hours ago, a Magistrate, Mrs. Safiya Iyeh and her two sons were sighted at the Governor’s office and somewhere at the State secretariat protesting over nonpayment of two years salaries. Safiya is a single parent. As sole provider without any income for the years under consideration. She is financially incapacitated as at the moment and as such, unable to fend for her children. Her last son is suffering from medical problems related to ENT (eye, nose and throat). She is not alone in this predicament, they are 28 others who are yet to be paid 23 months salaries. Haba!
Sometime in September 2020, about 2,500 delisted Civil Servants protested for four days over retrenchment. Eventually, few were reinstated and October salary paid without arrears; while a huge number are yet to be reinstated. Again, on November 2, 2020, the State pensioners protested by blocking the popular Murtala Mohammed highway before they were dispersed by the State coercive apparatus.
These people served with their hearts. Today, heartless men on the pew of power are denying them of their benefits. This evil cannot happen in saner climes. Enough of this evil. It shall be restricted by us.
Another one-man protest was carried out by one Mr. Joseph Odey on Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Odey’s family was distressed. He needed succour through the payment of gratuity. No one knows if he had been relieved!
The year is too new and fresh to buffet the State with protest. However, experience reveals that our Government only understand the language of protest. The Government of Sen. Ben Ayade should as a matter of urgency and necessity consider the plights of the pensioners, Civil Servants, those yet to be reinstated and those serving the State at sundry capacity.
Niger Delta Activists Forum (NDAF) under my superintendent will stage a statewide protest if things go the way they are being seen.
Comrade Ogar Emmanuel Oko writes from Calabar and he is the Sole Administrator, Cross River State Chapter of Niger Delta Activists Forum (NDAF).
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Ogar Emmanuel Oko and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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