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Why Street Sweepers Defaced, Littered Gov’s Office In Calabar



Hundreds of street sweepers, mostly old women, have explained why they littered the governor’s office in Calabar with refuse on Tuesday.

The sweepers said the decision was to register their displeasure to the Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade, over the government’s decision not to pay their stipends for over four months now.

The sweepers explained that the same scenario played out about eight years ago, where the outgoing administration failed to pay them for over four months and then ultimately left with their money.

Speaking on the matter, their leader, 60-year-old Nkoyo Etim Effiong, said they have not paid street sweepers in the state for four months now.

“We are here to let the governor know that we have not been paid for four months. In 2015, they refused to pay us for six months and now they want to take away our four months’ salaries.”

“Those of us who are sweepers are paid differently. There are those who collect N5,000, N8,000 and N10,000 monthly.

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“There are those we call Wreckers and they collect N15,000 a month. We just want them to give us our money before they leave office”, she said.

Another elderly woman, who gave her name as Emana Cobham, claimed that they take so much risk in the course of sweeping the streets, despite the paltry and irregular stipends they get from the government.

“We leave our houses by 4.30 am daily and you must go to your duty post, sweep your portion, which is always a long stretch before day breaks”, she lamented.

She recalled that many sweepers have lost their lives to accidents, some have been raped, while others have been robbed of their valuables including phones.

The sweepers earn between N5,000 to 10,000 monthly and there are no other additional benefits accruable to them.

There has been no official response from the government over twenty-four hours after the protest.

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