Local government workers in Ondo State on Wednesday stormed the governor's office in Akure to protest the nonpayment of their leave bonuses.

The workers, who are mainly members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in the state, are demanding the payment of their 2016 bonuses. 

The aggrieved workers sang solidarity songs and shut down the main entrance to Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s office for several minutes to prevent people and vehicles from entering the premises. 

A SaharaReporters correspondent reported that the protest was “stage managed,” as the local union branches’ leaders instructed and directed the workers on their protest strategy.

The workers had initially wanted to block the entire adjourning route to the main street of the governor's office in Alagbaka, but they were begged by their leaders to halt the process.

These same leaders were the ones who organized a “Thank You Rally” for Mr. Mimiko before the 2016 governorship election last year, which he lost to Rotimi Akeredolu.

“Their motive then was to seek a monetary kind gesture from the embattled governor (Mimiko) during last year’s rally," a worker told our correspondent.

However, during the Wednesday protest, the workers were concerned about their own welfare, mostly with regards to their unpaid bonuses, since the embattled Mr. Mimiko has less than a month left in office.

The workers accused the outgoing governor of oppressing workers through his refusal to pay their salaries and bonuses.

Many of them lamented that the nonpayment of their salaries and bonuses has exacerbated their already dire financial situations brought on by the recession.

Taking turns to vent their anger, the protesting workers alleged that Mr. Mimiko was “deliberately withholding” their 2016 leave bonuses.

"We have it on good authority that this man (Mimiko) doesn't want to pay our money,” a worker said.

"He has refused to pay workers’ salaries several times. Even with all the funds he’s received from the federal government, he won’t pay our small bonuses. 

“So, we are protesting for him to pay our money before he leaves the office next month or else we will continue to ground administrative activities here,” he told our reporter.

Another protester told SaharaReporters that the total fund of the outstanding leave bonuses for the local government workers is over N800 million.

Bunmi Eniayewu, the NULGE Chairman in the state who met with the officials of the state government, later addressed the workers and said the officials have promised to look into the demands of the angry protesters.

Mr. Eniayewu added that the outgoing governor would soon call for a meeting of the labor leaders to address the plight of the protesting local government workers.

The workers have promised to continue their protest if nothing is done about their leave bonuses before this Friday. 

Governor Olusegun Mimiko addressing workers during a protest in Akure, the Ondo State capital

 

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