Hundreds of aggrieved workers and private security guards yesterday trooped to the streets of Asaba, the Delta state capital, protesting against their unpaid salaries and maltreatment by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the African Senior Athletics Championship.
The protesters, comprising those engaged by private consultants, namely, Dambiri Global, Top Private Security (TPS) and Force Guard (FG) that got contracts from the Local Organising Committee, headed by Chief Solomon Ogba and the chairman of the state’s Sports Commission, Chief Tonobok Okowa, threatened to cripple commercial activities in the metropolis.
They angrily blocked the popular Nnebisi Road, leading to the stadium, to express their displeasure as they hurled abuses on the organisers over their ill-treatment.
It took the intervention of soldiers and men of the Eagle Net of the police command before they were evacuated from the road to the premises of the sports commission.
A nursing mother among them, who simply identified herself as Amaka, and her counterpart, Grace, lamented that they were made to resume clean-up by 5.30am and closed after contingents, Very Important Persons (VIPs) and spectators had left around 8.30pm.
She said they became angry after the N15,000, being the total amount for the five-day event, was slashed to N7,500, and some persons were shortlisted for N6,000. “We were promised N3,000 for a full day work. We resume 5.30 am and close around 8.30 pm. We fetched water with buckets for three days after that collapse which was not the initial agreement. To get our money again today (yesterday) became a problem because they felt they had used us and they can dump us.”
One of the guards, nicknamed ‘Africa’ bitterly complained against a consultant he accused plotting to short-pay them. He expressed shock that they were subjected to inhuman treatment immediately the event ended last Sunday night. “We provided security throughout the event. Prior to the championship, we were trained for two weeks without pay, accommodation and feeding. No provision was made for our transport and feeding during the five days. Now, the event has come and gone; someone, somewhere, wants to shortchange us.”
They threatened that peace would not reign unless they were paid according to the initial agreement during training.