–Demands immediate release of their wages
An activist and humanitarian, Mr. Paulcy Iwuala, has condemned in strong terms the alleged failure of the Imo State government to pay the salaries of street sweepers in the state, describing it as inhuman.
Iwuala, who spoke in Owerri, the state capital, on Tuesday, also called on the state government to immediately offset the arrears of salaries stretching to eleven months to enable the sweepers take care of themselves and their families.
He made the call after street sweepers on Monday blocked the entrance to the state Government House in Owerri in protest against the delay in the payment of their salary arrears.
The women, who insisted on seeing the state Governor, Hope Uzodinma, alleged that they had not been paid since he took office on January 15.
The leader of the women, who gave her name simply as Charity, told journalists that efforts to make the government pay them their salaries were futile.
Charity said while most of them were poor, others were widows who depended on the stipends to take care of their families.
The woman said life was becoming difficult for them due to the economic hardship in the country.
And Iwuala, who is the founder of Genius Eyes International Foundation for the Hopeless said the state government has no reason to owe the workers.
He said the state government ought to pay them as and when due.
“I find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that these category of workers are owed for several months. How much are we talking about here? The street sweepers are the least paid government workers, so what does it cost the state government to pay them?” Iwuala said.
“They come out every morning to sweep our streets and go empty handed and hungry at the end of the month. These women have families. Most of them have children to take care of. It is unfair and inhuman that they are owed since January.
“Under no economic circumstances should they be owed. It is unacceptable. They should be paid as and when due. Government should do the needful immediately,” he added.
It would be recalled that in December 2019, Iwuala distributed medicated nose masks and food items to all the street sweepers in the state capital, a gesture the humanitarian said was in appreciation of their efforts in keeping the streets clean.