From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Angry and hungry Delta State council workers owed about 15 months of salaries on Wednesday held the state down in protest asking to be paid.
Workers in the 25 council areas of Delta State known as Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) disrupted socio-economic activities in Asaba, the state capital in protest.
The protesting workers, in overwhelming numbers marched through major streets of the metropolis, making stopovers at the Government House, Anwai Road and House of Assembly complex on Okpanam Road where they were addressed by the authorities.
Apart from the salary arrears owed them, the workers also rejected the clocking system recently introduced by chairmen of the councils to track attendance at of council officials at the secretariats in the state.
Besides, the protesters led by the national president of NULGE, Alhaji Ibrahim Khaleed and the state president of the union, Comrade Ziko Okwudi, fully backed autonomy for local councils in the country.
One of the protesting council workers from Isoko North Local Government Area, Obukovwo Victor told Daily Sun that the workers are aware that the Acting President has already approved the disbursement of the Paris Club refund, adding that Delta State got a whopping sum of N27.6b from the refund.
Obukovwo said: “We understand that the Acting President has approved the Paris Club refund and our state got a whopping sum of N27.6b, yet we have not heard anything from the state government.
“We are also saying no the clocking machine system introduced by the authorities. We will resist this obnoxious system until our arrears are paid in full before negotiating whether or not to key into the clocking system. We are not afraid of coming to work every day.”
On his part, Comrade James Osalubi stated that autonomy is very important for the running for local government council, adding that during the regime of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, “we fought for it but Delta State House of Assembly was one of the organs that rejected it.