Gardeners who work for Imo State Government, on Monday, staged a protest at the Government House, Owerri, demanding the payment of four months arrears of their salaries by the state government.
They accused the Special Assistant to the governor on beautification, Izuchi Duru and her husband, Joshua Duru of foul play in the payment of their salaries.
One of the leaders of the gardeners, Bethel Nwaiwu, said road sweepers who are in the same category with them have received their payment up to date, while they are owed four months of their N20,000 monthly salary.
Corroborating Nwaiwu’s submission, Chukwuma Nwokeafor, said that Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Duru, at a point, told them to stop work, promising to pay them when money comes, a condition they saw as a ploy to illegally disengage them.
In her own submission, Mrs. Charity Chiagoro, a widow, beckoned on the state government to pay them, lamenting that he could hardly feed and afford medical treatment, owing to lack of money.
Another gardener who introduced himself simply as Mr. Jude, wondered why the husband and wife should tell them to stay at home when they have not been paid for the four months they worked.
He said they rely on the money to take care of their families, but are now utterly disappointed, adding that they now leave on borrowing.
It took the intervention of the Commissioner for Lands, Barr. Enyinnaya Onuegbu to calm the protesters, who he urged to come on a later date when the governor will be around to address them directly.
Onuegbu said the problem may not actually be from the husband and wife. He pointed out that there are over three agencies laying claim to the same job in the state, saying that the discrepancy may have been the cause of the delay in paying their salaries, but assured them it will be sorted out as soon as possible, so they will be paid.
Efforts to reach Mrs. Duru failed as she could not be reached on her telephone line as at press time.