By Festus Ahon
ASABA—PEEVED by what they described as wickedness, hundreds of menial workers and private security guards who worked at the Stephen Keshi Stadium during the just concluded 21st African Senior Athletics Championship, yesterday, stormed the streets of Asaba, the Delta State capital to protest their unpaid salaries and maltreatment by the Local Organising Committee, LOC.
The protesters comprising those engaged by private consultants (names witheld ) that got contracts from the Local Organising Committee, headed by Chief Solomon Ogba and the chairman of the state’s Sports Commission, Chief Tonobok Okowa, threatened to cripple commercial activities in the metropolis.
The protesters who blocked the popular Nnebisi Road, leading to the stadium to express their displeasure, chanted songs of disenchantment and rained abuses on the organisers over their ill-treatment.
It took the intervention of soldiers and men of the Eagle Net of the police command before they were evacuated from the road to the premises of the sports commission.
One of the protesters, a nursing mother, who simply identified herself as Amaka, lamented that they were made to resume clean-up by 5.30a.m., and close after contingents, Very Important Persons, VIPs and spectators had left around 8.30p.m., every day for the period the tournament lasted.
Noting that they became angry after the N15,000, being the total amount for the five days event allegedly agreed earlier was slashed to N7,500, she said: “We were promised N3,000 for a full day work. We resume 5.30a.m., and close around 8.30p.m. We fetched water with buckets for three days after the water tank collapsed which was not the initial agreement.
“Now, to get our money again today (yesterday) became a problem because they felt they had used us and they can dump us.”
One of the guards, who gave his nicknamed as ‘Africa,’ said “We were subjected to inhuman treatment immediately the event came a close last Sunday night. We provided security throughout the event. Prior to the championship, we were trained for two weeks without pay, accommodation and feeding.
“No provision was made for our transportation and feeding during the five days. Now, the event has come and gone, someone – somewhere wants to short-change us.”
They said peace will not reign unless they were paid according to the initial agreement during training. Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, LOC, Chief Ogba could not be reached at press time as he did not answer calls put across to him for comment on the matter.