Aba - Aggrieved workers of Aba North Local Government of Abia on Tuesday shut down the council headquarters at Eziama, over non-payment of their salaries.
The chairman of the council’s transition committee, Chief Goodluck Amaefula, was not spared by the workers who held him hostage for several hours before the intervention of policemen from the Aba Area Command.
The workers said they had not been paid their September salaries, hence their decision to protest.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the council chairman drew the ire of the workers when they came to work and were told that their September salaries would not be paid against an earlier promise.
The chairman’s explanation that there was no money, and pleas for the workers to exercise patience irked them the more.
The workers locked the offices and entrances into the council headquarters, and held the chairman hostage.
When NAN visited the council headquarters at 4.10 p.m., the chairman was still being held by the workers, some of who were chanting war songs and prevented vehicles from going in or leaving the premises.
Some of the workers told NAN that the council chairman had deceived them for a long time over their salaries.
"Each time the month ends and we meet him over our salaries, he would tell us he was going to meet with the state governor, and at the end nothing will come out of the meeting.
"Some of us are owed salary since April, but the general thing is that no worker in the council had received his salary beyond August.
"Yet, we have children to train, rents to pay including payment of the numerous levies government slammed on residents of the city.
"Where then do we get the money to meet all these obligations?" a woman who did not want her name mentioned, queried.
NAN reports that the first batch of policemen sent to control the situation were over-powered by the workers, hence a re-enforcement to rescue the council chairman.
After his rescue, Amaefula told newsmen on phone that the workers could not be paid because the council’s allocation was seized by a bank for non-repayment of debts.
He pleaded with the workers to exercise patience, assuring them that efforts were being made to pay their salaries.