Scores of persons claiming to be staff of Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State barricaded the entrance of the Secretariat on Monday, demanding the payment of their three months salaries.
The protesters who carried placards insisted that they are staff of the council and not ghost workers as alleged by the council chairman, Dr. Chidi Lloyd.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards were ‘Chidi Lloyd, please pay us our salaries. We are not ghost workers’, ‘Our names are in the nominal roll’, among others, even as they sang and played drums to drive home their message.
Some of them spoke to newsmen, saying,”We are workers of Emuoha local government council. For three months, May, June and July we have not been paid and we have families,” one of them said.
Another man said,”We are here to call on the chairman of Emuoha local government, Dr. Chidi Lloyd, to pay us our three months salaries. We were told that he had even paid some people who have gone on transfer from this council.
“He had paid all of them. We are not ghost workers. I am a bonafide staff of Emuoha local government council. We are begging him to pay us.”
On her part, a middle-aged woman who also did not give her name said they were called for verification last week and were told that those whose names were not on the list had no issues, but that she was denied her salary even when her name is not on the list of those that have issues.
She said, “I came here last week when they were doing verification. They said if your name is not on the list, you don’t have any problem.
“My name and most of us our names are not there but they are denying us salaries. Why?”
Reacting swiftly to the protest on 92.3 Nigeria Info FM, Port Harcourt news monitored by The Punch, Dr. Lloyd said they were not genuine staff of the council.
The Local Government boss said staff of the council were not owed salaries, except those who have discrepancies with their accounts.
He said, “The people you see there singing and drumming at the council gate are probably those ones that were smuggled into the nominal roll by those who assisted them.
“What they didn’t know is that those people didn’t make them staff. If I am Chairman of council, I have the capacity to say ‘okay, let me 200 people out of my benevolence,’ that does not make them council staff. Those are the people you see singing and drumming.
“We also have a help desk because we know that we could make mistake. Human error. So we have a help desk to say if you have any genuine complaint come forward. We will attend to you.”