From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Commuters, yesterday, were stranded for hours following the non availability of the Edo City Transport Service (ECTS).
Workers of the State transport service had stormed the Government House into the company’s buses to protest what they tagged unfair treatment meted on them by the management.
Speaking with newsmen at the company’s premises at Ramat Park, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, leader of the group, Mr. Abudu Briamah, alleged that the Managing Director of the company, Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor, has refused to remit their contributing pension funds to the appropriate quota.
“She has been deducting our contributions for pension retirement since 2017, but she refused to remit it to the body in charge, and she is owing us over N360 million. She should come and pay us.
“We are calling on the EFCC chairman, the governor and Edo State Commissioner of Police to get her arrested. Why must she not remit our money to the body? She wants to kill us and kill our career,” he said.
Braimah also accused the MD of casualisation of staff, non promotion of staff as and when due, and owing of workers salary for two months.
“We are demanding our November and December salary and we know that the state government normally pays the state civil servants salary between 22nd and 24th every month, but, up till now, we have not received November salary.
“She also refused to implement our minimum wage. Since January 24, to be precise, that is when Edo State started paying civil servants their minimum wage.
“From January till now, how many months is that? That is 12 months. We want the state government to pay us our arrears, implement our minimum wage and put an end to casualisation of staff; we want them to be staffed. We want the staff to be promoted because since 2015 till now, she refused to promote workers,” he alleged.
He also alleged that the MD of the company collects bogus furniture allowance every three months.
“So, we are tired of the woman, she must go. Every three months she collects N500,000 as furniture allowance; in a year, that is N2 million,” he said.
In a swift reaction, Managing Director, ECTS, Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor, said their claims were baseless. She alleged that some of the staff were trying to run their own personal transport lines within the company.
“I said the essence of this protest has nothing to do with the issues of pension. The issue is that some of them are on indefinite suspension because they wanted to run a private transport company within the organisation and when I found out, I issued them query, placed them on indefinite suspension while the investigation is going on,” she said.
She said it was also out of place for the staff to be protesting for two months salary arrears when the state government paid them for five months without working during the COVID19 pandemic.