By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—COMMERCIAL activities were, yesterday, brought to a standstill in Benin City, Edo State, following the strike action embarked upon by local government workers in the state over the non-payment of their salary arrears by the state government even as one of the protesting workers was said to have allegedly died in the process.
The deceased protester, simply identified as Peter Ayewo, in his mid-50s, was said to have slumped and died while in the convoy of his council members from Esan North-East Local Government Area of the state, who participated in the protest march. Vanguard gathered that efforts by his fellow workers to revive him failed as he was said to have died on the way to the hospital.
Meanwhile, it was learned that the body of the late Ayewo had been taken to Uromi and deposited at the General Hospital in Uromi, Esan North East, while plan for his burial is expected to be announced by the family members through the union.
However, the peaceful protest that commenced from five different locations in the city was led by the National President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel, National Secretary and Treasurer and they were accompanied by the Edo State president, Young Ilenikhena, State Executive Council, SEC, members and workers across the 18 local government areas of the state.
Speaking during the protest, Khaleel expressed disappointment at the way the state government has been handling the plight of the local government workers over the years, just as he vowed that the union would not relent until the workers were paid fully for services rendered.
He remarked that the state governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, had betrayed the confidence reposed in him as a former labour leader who knew the plight of workers. He stated that the battle with the state government over the workers’ plight has just begun as NULGE plans to move the national secretariat of the union to Edo State to press home their demands.
In the same vein, Ilenikhena stated that since the governor has decided to pay deaf ears to their yearnings, they were ready to broadcast to the whole world what they have been suffering in the hands of the government over the years.