On Tuesday the women employed as street sweepers in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South Local Government Areas of Cross River protested over the non-payment of their stipends for about four months.
The women, who protested at the entrance of the Governor’s Office in Calabar, had placards with inscriptions such as “pay us our money,” “we are tired of working without pay”.
Addressing newsmen on the matter, the leader of the protesters, 60-year-old Mrs Nkoyo Effiong, said they had not been paid for four months, adding that it was tiring.
According to Effiong, “We are here to let the governor know that we have not been paid for four months now; in 2015, they refused to pay us for six months, and now they want to go away with our four months salaries.
“Some of us are paid N5,000 monthly, others receive N10,000 while those we call wreckers are paid N15,000 a month; we just want them to give us our money before they leave office.”
On her part, Mrs Emana Cobham, another elderly woman, noted that they take so much risk while sweeping the streets.
Cobham said as early as 4:30 am, they were expected to be at duty posts to sweep their portion, always a long stretch before day break.
“We have lost some sweepers to accidents, some have been raped while others have been robbed of their valuables, including phones,” she narrated.
This is not the first time street sweepers are protesting in the Calabar metropolis over the non-payment of their stipends.
In 2022 the aged workers, mostly in their 60s and 70s, took to the streets twice over similar treatment.
Responding to their plight, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Eric Anderson, said: “I am aware of the situation but that is not my beat. You have to contact the commissioner for environment.”