Africa

Lagos abandon sweepers, midwives

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Scores of highway sweepers and midwives in Lagos State, on Monday, stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly to protest the non-payment of their salary arrears by the state government.

The protesters who came in separate groups, lamented that life has been unbearable. While the midwives alleged that they were being owed more than a year salaries, the street sweepers said they were owed between three to five months.

One of the highway sweepers, Yemisi Oresanwo lamented that since they were transferred from the Ministry of the Environment to Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), life has been difficult for her and her family. 

It was learnt that there are seven zones handling sweeping of highways in the state with each zone owing various salary arrears, just as it was gathered that the sweepers monthly take home pay is N12,000 while supervisors collect N20,000.

They added that they had lodged complaints to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of the Environment who promised to look into their demands.

Oresanwo who is a supervisor from Ikeja zone said it has been difficult for them to survive, saying they had complained to their boss but nothing is forth coming.

“Like for me as a supervisor, I’m being owed five months salaries. Others are being owed three or four months. So we want government to come to our aid.

“Since the time we have been transferred from MOE to LAWMA, the latter has been responsible for payment of our salaries until recently when they refused to pay us,” she said.

According to her, LAWMA has been paying their own workers but has neglected us. They explained that LAWMA management said that the Ministry of the Environment is owing them that is the reason they would not continue to pay.

Also speaking, Abidemi Najeem said they have been enduring the non-payment but the situation has worsened since their children are expected to resume school later this month.

Najeem who is representing Jibowu-Fadeyi zone said they have been transferred since 2013 to LAWMA, adding that “we want the government to state categorically whether we are under LAWMA or ME how do they expect us to take care of ourselves and family members,” she added.

Speaking on behalf of Midwives Service Scheme (MSS), Beatrice Ajayi explained that they belong to umbrella body for midwives in Nigeria.”We were deployed by the Federal Government to Lagos State, and while the Federal Government has been paying its percentage as part of the agreement, Lagos State government has refused to honour its own part.

“This is not the first time we have protested, when we protested last year, they paid 2014 arrears but left 2013 unpaid. We find it difficult to go for work as we can’t afford the transport fares. They have been promising us but we are tired of waiting. We borrow money to go to work,” she said.

A member of the House of Assembly, Hon. Bisi Yusuf who addressed the two groups of protesters on behalf of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, appealed to the protesters to remain calm and not take laws into their hands.

Yusuf said that the House which is currently on recess is expected to resume next week and that “we shall look into your grievances.”

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