Abuja - Workers of the Abuja Environment Protection Board (AEPB) on Tuesday barricaded the main entrance to the board’s premises in protest against alleged non-payment of their two months’ salary.
They are also protesting against what they described as unfriendly working conditions.
Musa Adamu, one of the workers, said that they were protesting against the non-payment of their January and February salary ``and unkind treatment by the Mr Isah Shuaibu-led management of the board.’’
He claimed that the director general had been insensitive to issues concerning their welfare, ``considering the hazards of our work’’.
``We get hawkers, miscreants, prostitutes and others, off Abuja streets, yet we are not well paid.’’
A taskforce officer, Yakubu Abraham, who collects N18 000 monthly, said he spends N600 everyday on transportation to work and expressed regret over the delay in the payment of their salary.
He said ``we need care, we are in bondage, we are enslaved, we are hungry, the money they are paying us is not enough; some of us, especially the ones under SURE-P are collecting as low as N10 000 monthly.
``We are taskforce officers and we face people who are angry everyday because of our operations; some of us have sustained permanent injuries, some are on clutches, while others are confined to wheel chairs.
The workers, who blocked the entrance to the office building with dust bins, empty tanks and woods, also locked in the agency’s management staff and other workers as well as visitors.
Mercy John, a SURE-P officer, said she earns N10 000 as monthly salary, adding ``we do not get any allowance as it is being given to SURE-P staff in other agencies.’’
She appealed to the management to pay them their salary and give them employment letters.
The AEPB Director-General, Mr Isah Shuaibu, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that the problem of salary in the first quarter of the year was not peculiar to the organisation.
Shuaibu, however, said that all outstanding issues with the workers had been resolved and that they would be paid their salary in the next two days.
``The most exciting thing is that unlike before, their salary has been approved by the FCT minister and captured in the budget, and the process of payment has been completed.
``I can tell you that they will be paid in the next two days.’’
He, however, advised the workers to appreciate the effect the FCT administration had made to provide them jobs.
``What government did was to take the heat off the streets by employing these boys and they should appreciate that.
``The most important thing is that we have created jobs for them and they should not misuse the opportunity.”
The AEPB boss said the board had put in place a mechanism to restructure the system to enhance the workers’ performance.
``Very soon, the board will engage them in training that will improve their conduct while interfacing with the public.
``The training will be in three batches of 200 workers per batch,’’ he added.