A recent investigation by SecretReporters has revealed that the security guards and cleaners employed by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) in Calabar have not received their salaries for 17 months. This is not the first time such an issue has been reported, as similar cases were also documented in other states where the ministry has offices. Despite promises from MNDA’s administration in Calabar to address the situation, the guards and cleaners have yet to receive their long-overdue payments. This report investigates the reasons behind the non-payment of salaries and the impact it has had on the affected workers.
In 2016, The Punch newspaper reported on the plight of MNDA employees in various states who had been prevented from accessing their offices due to non-payment of salaries. Security guards had locked the gates, and employees were unable to work. Fast forward to 2023, and the situation remains the same for guards and cleaners at the ministry’s Calabar office. This raises questions about the ministry’s commitment to its workers and its responsibility to ensure timely payment of salaries.
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One of the guards at the Calabar office, who wished to remain anonymous, shared his experience with SecretReporters. He explained that he had worked with the ministry since its establishment and had never received regular payment. Initially, they were hired as contract guards, but after their contracts were terminated, the ministry retained them as casual staff. Despite this, payment of their salaries has remained an ongoing issue. The supervisor, Isek Henry, is owed a staggering N680,000, while Jeptha Henshaw, Monday Enya, and Grace Iyang, who are all cleaners, are also owed significant amounts.
When contacted, the MNDA’s administration in Calabar claimed that the guards were not directly employed by the ministry. Instead, they were absorbed after their contract was terminated, with the plan of using maintenance allowances from the headquarters for their salaries. However, the maintenance funds stopped coming in at some point, making it difficult for the office to meet the guards’ salary demands. The administration has made several appeals to the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, but the payment is yet to materialize.
The non-payment of salaries to guards and cleaners at the MNDA’s Calabar office is a severe issue that needs to be addressed urgently as the ministry must fulfill its obligation to its workers and ensure that they receive their rightful payments. Nigerian especially these affected workers are calling on the relevant authorities to investigate this non-payment of salaries as this raises questions about the ministry’s commitment to workers’ welfare and highlights the need for a more proactive approach to addressing salary-related issues.