Human rights activists, some workers and Conference of Nigeria Political Parties on Friday staged a peaceful protest to express their displeasure over the Osun State Government’s inability to pay workers’ salaries for over seven months.
The protesters marched from Igbona area to Olaiya Junction in Osogbo where they addressed journalists.
The protest caused a mild traffic jam but the presence of policemen ensured the process was not hijacked by hoodlums.
Brandishing placards with various inscriptions such as: “Pay workers and pensioners their entitlements,” and “Aregbesola, bring back our money”, the protesters said they had to use the June 12 Day to seek support for the workers who they described as oppressed.
The Chairman, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice, Mr. Sulaiman Alimi, said Governor Rauf Aregbesola had failed the people of the state.
According to him, blaming the past government for the financial crisis in the state was an act of irresponsibility on the part of the current administration.
Alimi, therefore, called on the governor to resign, saying he should no longer continue in office since he could not proffer solution to the problem.
He said, “I want to say it emphatically that Governor Rauf Aregbesola has failed the people of Osun State because he created this problem by mismanaging the allocation which accrued to the state. This is why he has not been able to pay workers for seven to eight months.
“I am using this medium to advise Aregbesola to resign honourably from office before he will be sent out of the state. The governor has failed in his responsibility and the people can no longer bear the untold hardship any longer”.
In a related development, the Osun Civil Societies Coalition, which is an umbrella body of pressure groups in the state, has called on the government to devise means of paying the workers’ salaries.
Expressing its sympathy with the workers, the OCSC said it would be cruel and ungodly to leave them in their despondent state.
The coalition’s spokesperson, Mr. Ismaeel Uthman, said in a statement yesterday that hunger and poor health ravaging the state workers were undeniable as a result of the non-payment of their salaries.
Uthman said, “We sympathise with the workers in Osun state over their unpaid salaries; we acknowledged how difficult life has been for them because some of the members of the coalition are in the state civil service. We know life has not been easy at all”.
“We dedicate this year June 12 to the Osun State workers. We specially call on the state governor, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, to find solution to the non-payment of the workers’ salaries in the state. A hungry man is an angry man and there is no appeal for someone that is hungry. Aregbesola should act fast before hunger leads to death”, the coalition added.