Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
Street sweepers in Owerri, Imo State, on Thursday blocked the gate to the government house in anger.
The protesters, who were all women, obstructed the flow of traffic in and out of the government house over what they termed government’s continued insensitivity to their plights.
Though no government functionary came to address them, the protesters ensured that government officials who were either going out or coming into the government house from the main gate had no access.
Security men who tried to pacify the enraged protesters were rebuffed by the women, who laid siege to the main gate.
Unable to pacify the protesters, the security officials watched the women as they sang in solidarity.
One of the women, who spoke to our correspondent in Igbo language, accused the Governor Hope Uzodinma-led administration of deliberately denying them the opportunity to enjoy the Christmas season with their families.
The woman, who simply identified herself as Mrs Charity, wondered how they would enjoy Christmas when the state government refused to pay them salaries for months.
She said the government had also not shown any commitment to settle the arrears.
Charity said, “We are here again to ask our governor to have mercy on us. Apart from being indigenes of this state, most of us are the breadwinners of our families. There are many widows among us. We were duly engaged by the state government. We are not ghost workers and we have been doing our jobs diligently.
“We have families, with many children depending on us. We are not asking for too much. We are only asking that salaries of several months we worked for should be paid to us. The whole world should join us to beg the governor to pay us at least for the sake of this Christmas season. He should pay us so that we can buy a cup of rice for our families on Christmas day.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Print Media, Modestus Nwamkpa, had told our correspondent that the government was looking into the matter, assuring that the women would soon be paid.