26th April, 2023
Women employed as street sweepers in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South Local Government Areas of Cross River on Tuesday protested over the non payment of their stipends for about four months.
The women, who protested at the entrance of the Governor’s Office in Calabar, had placards with inscriptions such as “pay us our money,” “we are tired of working without pay”.
Addressing newsmen on the matter, leader of the protesters, Mrs Nkoyo Effiong, who is 60 years old, said they had not been paid for four months, adding that it was tiring.
According to Effiong, “We are here to let the governor know that we have not been paid for four months now; in 2015, they refused to pay us for six months and now they want to go away with our four months salaries.
“Some of us are paid N5,000 monthly others receive N10,000 while those we call wreckers are paid N15,000 a month; we just want them to give us our money before they leave office,” she said.
On her part, Mrs Emana Cobham, another elderly woman, noted that they took so much risk in the course of sweeping the streets.
Cobham said as early as 4.30 in the morning, they were expected to be at duty posts to sweep their portion, always a long stretch before day-break.
“We have lost some sweepers to accidents, some have been raped while others have been robbed of their valuables, including phones,” she narrated.
This is not the first time street sweepers are protesting in Calabar metropolis over the non-payment of their stipends.
In 2022 the aged workers, mostly in their 70s and 60s, took to the streets twice over similar treatment.
Responding to their plight, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Eric Anderson, said: “I am aware of the situation but that is not my beat. You have to contact the commissioner for environment.”
But the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Nfon Bassey, didn’t pick calls or respond to text message placed to his phone by a NAN correspondent over the pathetic situation.