About 750 widows engaged by the state government to sweep the Owerri metropolis were Monday tear-gased while protesting their six months unpaid stipends in front of the Imo state Government House, Owerri.
This is the third time in one month the frail-looking women have taken their protest to the Government House to press home their demand for payment.One of their spokespersons, Mrs. Hilda Ngozika said that, “Government keeps telling us to bring our documents and identifications before we are paid and all these identifications and documentations, which are not much are with the government. And by the way, what documentation do you need to be a street sweeper? Obviously not much?”
The women whose monthly payment is N15,000 each told newsmen further that the state government owes each of the women N90,000 each being accumulated arrears of their individual stipend for six months.
The total debt owed the women for the six months is estimated at N67, 500,000 only.
In spite of the nonpayment of their entitlement for the last six months, the hapless widows have continued to sweep and keep the state capital clean.
Sadly, on their trip to the Government House yesterdayto protest the nonpayment of their stipend and to convey their attendant sorry situation, they were forcibly dispersed from the Government House gate with teargas.
The women were forced away from the Government House Gate and down to the Government House roundabout where they gathered in clusters lamenting their fate.