By Patrick Obia
Dozens of aggrieved civil servants in Cross River, on Wednesday, shutdown the new secretariat complex in Calabar to protest the non-payment of their salaries for a period of three years.
They bore placards with different inscriptions, chanting songs, demanding the sack of the Head of Service (HOS), Mrs. Geraldine Akpet-Ekanem for alleged negligence. They said they were duly employed and have been working with “empty stomachs.” They are at least 1,700 people affected, said David Eyanya.
“We are suffering, the hunger is too much, and (it is) devastating living in such harsh economic conditions,” Eyanya said, adding that: “for four years we have not been paid salaries, it is so devastating, and we are here to express our displeasure. We have lost three of our colleagues; we are suffering, the hunger is too much. Imagine a man without salary, even those collecting life is still hard how much more when you’re not collecting; it will indirectly push some of us to the streets for crime.”
On the HOS, Eyanya averred that she, “has shown incompetency because we have met with her, and she practically promised this month but unfortunately, she doesn’t even have the face to come address us because she knew she lied in all aspects. We are here to express our displeasure and the Governor should come to our aid.”
He further explained that: “We have been to the office of accountant general, the Governor’s office, and we protested some time ago which we succeeded in getting the Governor’s attention, and he ordered for verification; after that verification, the HOS failed in her position to work on the report of that verification. Our files are still here, which is very bad.
“We are one thousand seven hundred (1700) of us.
“We die here, we die here, it is better we die here than go and die in our houses; we will continue coming till we are paid. We are human beings, not criminals; we are mothers and fathers and have bills to pay; some of our colleagues that were delisted from the payroll are also here. We are citizens of Cross River State, they should treat us as citizens. It is embarrassing and let the Head of Service resign, she is incompetent and not fit to be HOS.”
No government official has come to address the aggrieved civil servants as the entrance to the secretariat still remain locked and key.
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