Ondo State civil service workers once again took to the busy streets of Akure on Thursday to protest the administration of the embattled Governor Olusegun Mimiko for refusing to pay their outstanding wages.
The striking workers have been demanding their six months’ outstanding salaries for 158 days now, SaharaReporters learned.
During the protest, the workers shut down the government house at the Alagbaka axis and prevented Mr. Mimiko and his convey from entering.
Armed with their recording mobile phones and gadgets, the workers booed the governor and hurled unprintable abuses on his government for refusing to pay their salaries.
“Mimiko is a thief, your government is corrupt, pay us our salaries,” the workers shouted loudly upon siting his convey entering the government house.
The workers confirmed that over six workers and twenty pensioners died in the State as a result of the non-payment of their salaries.
They vowed to continually take their destiny into their own hands until the government is willing and ready to pay their outstanding salaries.
“We have been on empty stomachs for 158 days without food, ” the striking workers said during the march against the State government.
Our correspondent present at the protest reported that the aggrieved workers carried anti-government placards with name-calling inscriptions.
They also marched on major busy streets of the State capital and chanted anti-government songs.
“The workers specifically paralyzed business activities and vehicular movement on the popular Alagbaka axis of the government base in the State capital,” our correspondent said in his report.
Retirees asking for their unpaid pension funds also joined the protesters.
Leaders of organized labor said Mr. Mimiko should display the spirit of sportsmanship and pay the protesting workers their salaries, noting that it is their legitimate right and not a privilege.
“What we are asking for is our right, not a privilege. This is a legitimate service we have rendered, so pay us our salaries,” one striker said.
“In the history of Ondo State, there had been no six months’ outstanding salaries of civil servants. We shall continue to fight for our collective right,” the leaders of the striking workers told the governor.
Bosede Daramola, Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Ondo State, said the workers would not be deterred by the antics of anyone, even from the State government.
Ms. Daramola said the striking workers were at the receiving end.
“I will urge all government workers in Ondo State to support this cause because it is a struggle for all,” she said.
Sunday Adeleye, the Chairperson of the Joint Negotiating Public Service Committee (JNC), complained that the strike had been taking a toll on both the protesting junior and senior government workers of the State.
“Imagine – a civil servant on the grade level 14 stole cassava flour while an assistant director begged for N500 just to survive this strike,” Mr. Adeleye said.
“We won’t resume until our salaries are paid.”
The main opposition party in the State, All Progressives Congress (APC) had on Monday asked the governor’s wife, Olukemi Mimiko, to urge her husband to pay the salaries of the protesting workers.
“Tell your husband to use the opportunity of your 49th birthday to pay the striking Ondo State workers as a special gift for you,” APC told Mrs. Mimiko.
The party had repeatedly accused the Mimiko government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of hoarding workers’ salaries in preparation for the November 26 governorship poll.