By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South & Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT-HARCOURT—No fewer than 1,000 employees, mainly gatemen and cleaners, working for security contractors to Niger Delta Development Commission, NDCC, in nine state offices, including the headquarters in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, have protested not receiving salaries in the last seven months.
The angry workers threatened to carry out a peaceful protest at the headquarters in Port-Harcourt, next week.
Meanwhile, efforts to get NDDC’s Director, Corporate Affairs, Dr. Ibitoye Abosede, for response to the development yielded no feedback at press time.
Leaders of the workers said: “From January until date, we have lost three staff due to hunger and lack of medical care. About nine staff fainted on duty while opening the gate at the headquarters office of NDDC and some state offices and more painfully, many are presently homeless because their landlords had ejected them from the apartments they rented, as they have no money to pay their rents.
“Most of our children cannot continue their education because of non-payment of school fees and other demands from the school authorities. The total number of contract security staff and cleaners from the nine state offices are over 1,000 workers, and the interim managing director failed to pay our salaries for seven months now.”
An activist in the Niger Delta, also contacted by the workers, Felix Okpe, told Vanguard on the phone: “Some of the affected staff came to my office to lodge a complaint of how the management of NDDC presently treats them like slaves.
“As a human rights activist in Niger Delta, I feel so bad after listening to their ordeal because NDDC has breached the fundamental human rights of these contract security staff and the cleaners, who have laboured for seven months without salaries under this harsh economic situation of Nigeria.
“Therefore, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of the contract security staff and the cleaners by directing the Interim Managing Director of NDDC to do what they need to do by paying the contract security staff and the cleaners without delay.”
“Why will the management of NDDC allow these staff to go through this hardship? Their story is heartbreaking because allowing these contract staff to die of hunger and sickness, and fainting on duty because of lack of food is a great sin against God and humanity.
“These contract staff gave the commission 24-hour security services, both night and day, yet they attach no allowance, only the peanut salary given to them at the end of each month,” he said.
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