Some staff members of the Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ASOPADEC) on Thursday protested against the non-payment of their four months’ salaries.
They also lamented the alleged neglected and inhuman treatment meted out to them by the General Manager of the commission.
The protesting workers lamented that since the General Manager assumed office, he had not addressed them.
They said their thumbprints had been taken several times but nothing ever came of the exercises.
They said for each of the screening exercises, they were locked up on the commission’s premises till late in the evening before they were allowed to leave.
According to them, they have explored every possible means to negotiate their salary arrears with the General Manager but whenever they raise the issue of their salaries, their boss would flare up in anger and tell them that he has no business with them.
The aggrieved workers displayed placards with various inscriptions including “Eze Ezebuiro (PA) to GM keep off from ASOPADEC staff affairs,” “Pay us our 4 months salary arrears,” and “Save our souls our dear governor”.
During the protest, one of the protesters said, “What is happening in ASOPADEC is unfair. Since the GM (General Manager) assumed office, the GM has not addressed the staff, and we are being owed four months’ salary arrears, and he is asking us to thumbprint.
“Not only that, if you enter there to thumbprint, they will not be there and they will lock you inside until 3:30 pm. “Where has it been done in the civil service? It is not a civil service rule for you to thumbprint and they will lock you inside. This is not democracy, and the GM’s PA (Personal Assistant) is making things worse in ASOPADEC.
“Eze Ezebuiro is not a staff member of ASOPADEC. He is just a PA to the GM so he should mind his business. He is stepping on the toes of ASOPADEC staff. The governor should address us. He should come to our aide. Hunger is killing us.”
Another aggrieved worker said, “We the staff of ASOPADEC are not happy. We are not happy with the treatment we have been receiving from the newly appointed General Manager. Since he was appointed, he has not addressed the staff and we are being owed five months. Whenever the issue of salary is raised, the man would flare up.
“We have tried every means of negotiation with him but nothing worked. We have done everything possible but all he told us is that if we want to burn down the office, we should go ahead, that he doesn’t have any business with us.
“What we are saying is that if he is not ready to manage ASOPADEC, let him go. He is not an administrator. This month makes it five months we are being owed. We have done physical verification and biometrics and we have been doing our thumbprinting. The worst part is that after thumbprinting, they will still lock the staff inside the office and will not let them go home.”