By Agene Akhere, Benin
Pandemonium broke out on Tuesday in Benin City, Edo State capital, as a commercial cab driver and some members of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Edo State chapter sustained serious of injuries while protesting unpaid differential salary arrears of between two and eight months.
The protesters, who adorned themselves with black attire, also held placards bearing inscriptions such as “our children are out of schools,” ”he that climbs and removes the ladder will definitely crash land one day,” and “working without salary is man’s inhumanity to man”.
The state president of the union, Comrade Edward -Young Ilemikhena, and the former state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Kaduna Eboigbodin, led the protesters who chanted dirges across major streets in Benin.
The front windscreen of a brown Nissan car marked Edo DJ 841 BEN belonging to one Mr. Bright was shattered by suspected hoodlums who claimed to be sympathetic to the cause of the workers.
The Commuter, Mr. Bright, who failed to give way, was attacked for allegedly refusing to make way for workers shortly after addressing reporters at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, Edo State Council Press Centre, Benin.
The incident occurred shortly after Oredo Local Government Council Chairman, Mr. Osaro Obazee, got a close shave with death at the state Secretariat Building complex, Sapele Road in Benin.
Obazee was reportedly frisked by the group for attempting to wade into the wage dispute.
Addressing newsmen, Edward- Young Ilemekhena had accused the state government of colluding with the helmsmen of the indebted 16 Local Government Councils in the state to strangulate the workers.
He listed the indebted Local Government Councils to include Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha, Egor, Ovia South West, Ovia North East, Orhionmwon, Uhunmwode, Igueben, Esan West, Etsako West, Akoko- Edo Owan West and the Local Government Service Commission.
He noted that the protest became necessary when negotiations between the leaders of NULGE and the Local Government authorities as well as the state government failed weeks ago.