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Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs

Wickedness of man: Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs Workers, Families Suffer Hardship Amidst Unpaid 27 Months’ Salary Arrears

Secrets Reporters

Workers of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs attached to Cross River State branch have come forward to expose their dire circumstances, citing an excruciating wait for their salaries, which have been withheld for a staggering 27 months. This revelation has plunged these workers and their families into severe financial hardship, with no end in sight.

The affected individuals, primarily security guards and cleaners, whose monthly wages range from N25,000 to N40,000, are owed a cumulative sum exceeding N2 million. Their plight underscores the immense challenges low-income earners face, relying heavily on meager salaries to sustain themselves and their families.

In an exclusive chat with SecretsReporters, one of the aggrieved workers, speaking anonymously, recounted their harrowing ordeal. “We are security guards and cleaners at the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Cross River State. It’s been up to 27 months of non-payment of salaries that the ministry owes us,” the worker lamented. Despite persistent pleas and letters sent to the ministry, payment promises have repeatedly fallen through, leaving the workers disillusioned and desperate for relief.

When asked about the possible authority in the ministry seating on their salaries, the worker pointed a finger at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja. “Our money is hanging at the head office,” they revealed, suggesting bureaucratic hurdles or mismanagement as potential reasons behind the delay.

In response to the situation, Mr. Emmanuel Etim Edet, the State Coordinator of the Ministry, acknowledged the issue and told SecretsReporters about the branch’s efforts to rectify the situation. He revealed that multiple correspondences had been initiated with the headquarters, yet no tangible progress had been made in disbursing the outstanding salaries. A letter dated October 13th, 2023, authored by Etim, showed the branch’s efforts. It states, “I respectfully write to inform you of the attached application, which was approved for payment as of December 2022. The payment was dropped due to lack of funds, with a promise to effect the payment once the fund is available.” However, the letter’s content shows that the ministry is claiming not to have funds, raising the question of why only cleaners and guards should be owed and why others are basking in wealth in the ministry.

Four of the affected guards and cleaners are Grace Inyang, whose salary is N25,000; Isek Henry, whose salary is N40,000; Monday Enya, whose salary is N30,000; and Jepthah Henshaw, whose salary is N30,000. Three of the workers are married but continue to languish in hardship as their salaries remain hijacked.

The protracted delay in salary payments has exacerbated the financial strain on these workers and their families, leading to untold suffering and deprivation. Despite being an integral part of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, their contributions to the infrastructural development of the region have been overshadowed by their own economic predicament.

Email sent to the ministry and contact form filled by our correspondent were not responded to at the time of filing this report.

Established in 2008 as a response to the pressing developmental challenges facing the Niger Delta region, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, headed by Engr. Abubakar E. Momoh, was tasked with addressing issues of exclusion, environmental degradation, poverty, and unemployment. However, the current plight of its own workforce raises questions about the ministry’s commitment to its employees’ welfare and the effectiveness of its internal mechanisms.

As the workers continue to endure the hardship imposed by months of unpaid wages, urgent intervention is warranted to alleviate their suffering and restore their dignity. The Ministry is urged to prioritize the prompt disbursement of owed salaries and implement measures to prevent such egregious lapses in the future.

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