Edo road sweepers stage protest over poor salary in Benin

Some of the protesters

Road sweepers in Edo, on Monday, took to the street of Benin City to protest against the payment of N17,820 as salary by the State Waste Management Board.

The sweepers, who were majorly women, in their numbers, stormed the secretariat of the Edo council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to express their grievances.

The protesters, who dressed in their uniforms, carried placards with inscriptions, such as “We need increment in our salary”; “we are tired of N17,820”.

Speaking on behalf of the protesting sweepers, Glory Efosa, said they had been receiving the amount for the past six years.

With the current economic reality, occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy, she said they could no longer cope, hence their wages should be increased.

“They pay us N18,000 but when they deduct the tax, we will be left with N17,820. We have complained and written several letters calling for increment but to no avail.

“We started receiving this amount as salary during the administration of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole and we are still being paid the same salary.

“Anytime we go on protest, the General Manager would say we didn’t have employment letters.

“They would tell us that Gov. Godwin Obaseki said he didn’t recognise us as working with the government, but if they want to do anything in Benin and they want to make the city to look beautiful, they will come to call us.

“For instance, after finishing our own task on Saturday, they asked us to go to New Benin and clean it up and we went.

“The general manager was present during the cleaning and when we wanted to bring the matter up but we were asked to hold on and that was how we abandoned the matter.

“Now, we are having a president who has removed fuel subsidy and things are now very expensive; that money cannot take us anywhere.

“How do they want us to pay our children’s school fees and our house rent? How do they want us to feed ourselves and our families?” Efosa queried.

While commending the governor for increasing the minimum wage in the state to N40,000, Efosa, however, said that their own salaries too should be increased to enhance their survival and take care of their families.

When contracted, the general manager of the board, Charles Imariagbe, said he was not unaware of the challenges being faced by the road sweepers, stating that there were plans to review their salaries. (NAN)

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