Ahoada West Civil servants protesting non payment of 13 months salaries in Port Harcourt.
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Hundreds of civil servants at the Ahoada West Local Government Council of Rivers on Thursday, protested to the Rivers state Government House, House of Assembly, Port Harcourt for alleged non payment of 13 months salaries.
The protesters who are mainly Rivers indigenes from other Local Government Areas of the state but deployed to Ahoada West Local Government Council lamented that indigenes of the LGA are receiving their monthly, while other staff who are not from LGA are allegedly denied their salaries.
They alleged that the Council Chairman, Hon Hope Ikiriko after putting them through biometrics refused to pay them.
They alleged that some of their colleagues out of hardship have died of hunger, heart failure and other ill health diseases.
One of the protesters, Diigbo Loda-Sam, said: “We are here to demand for our unpaid salary of over a year. The Chairman of Ahoada West council, Hon Hope Ikiriko has unlawfully denied us of our hard earn salaries.
“As I speak to you, we have lost some of our colleagues due to this unpaid salaries and for us we are saying it is criminal, we are saying is fraudulent. Infact it is crime against humanity because we have worked for it and some of our colleagues that were employed the same time with us are being paid.
“The council chairman sectional removed our names from the salary payroll, over 100 of us and he is eating the money for no just cause. We have written NULGE to protect our interest but to no avail.
“We are not happy about the situation that is why we came to government House to express our grievance, to meet His Excellency, Nyesom Wike to help us asked the LGA Chairman, Hope Ikiriko to us our salaries that we worked for.
“We are not being paid for over a year, is 13 months and this money is going to the council and he is embezzling the money all by himself”.
Also speaking, Peace Joseph, a native of Khana LGA but deployed to Ahoada West council, lamented “I have been going through untold hardship. For the past 13 months now we have not been paid our salaries and it is withheld by Hon Hope Ikiriko.
“Please I am asking for my unpaid salaries, my children are hungry, there in no food again in the house and no money to buy food. Even some our colleagues are dead due to High Blood Pressure and other ill health that they cannot help themselves to cure because they don’t have money”.
In her tears, Mrs Joseph pleaded that the Governor should use his office to mandate the payment of their outstanding salaries. “Your Excellency, use your office and help us Sir, we are hungry, no help, please help us”.
On her part, Koteni Edum, a native of Abua and a civil servant deployed to Ahoada West, pleaded “I just want the Governor to help us and asked the Chairman to pay us because we were duly employed. We have done all the verification, all the things we are asked to do that are genuine. So I don’t see why he should hold our salaries for 13 months and that is bad”.
Wilson Ibarakubaye, a native of Okrika stressed “For 13 months Hope Ikiriko said we are ghost workers and he refused to pay us. We have been going to the council but we always meet humiliation and beating from his boys that we should not come to the council anymore.
“He ran a screen on us, out of about 300 of us, he paid his people from Ahoada West and some few persons but refused to pay about 180 of us, he said we are ghost workers”.