With the inability of Governor Ben Ayade-led administration to pay street sweepers their four monthly stipend, the women, who numbered about one hundred, Tuesday, protested by littering the road leading to the Governor’s office with refuse.
The old women, aged between forty-five and sixty, who were employed by the government to sweep the streets of Calabar Municipality and Calabar South, also blocked the entrance to the Governor’s office.
Our reporter in Calabar, who witnessed the protest said it took the intervention of security operatives to calm the angry women down.
Speaking to Journalists on the matter, their leader, sixty year old Nkoyo Etim Effiong, said they have not paid street sweepers in the state for four months now.
“We are here to let the governor know that we have not been paid for four months. In 2015, they refused to pay us for six months and now they want to go away with our four months’ salaries,” she stated.
Asked how much their monthly stipend was, Madam Effiong said some of them were being paid N5,000 monthly while others were paid N10,000 monthly.
“Those of us who are sweepers are paid differently. Some collect N5,000, N8,000, and N10,000 monthly. There are those we call Wreckers and they collect N15,000 a month. We just want them to give us our money before they leave office,” she said.
Another elderly woman who gave her name as Emana Cobham claimed that they take so much risk in the course of sweeping the streets, adding “by 4.30 am, you must go to your duty post, sweep your portion which is always a long stretch before day breaks ”
She recalled that many sweepers have lost their lives to accidents, and that “some have been raped while others have been robbed of their valuables, including phones.”