By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
With no end in sight on the plight of over 2500 workers whose names were removed from payroll by the Cross River government, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Eteng Williams, has described the scenario as embarrassing.
The Speaker, who addressed the protesting workers on Thursday said, “we feel your pains. My younger ones are involved. About three of them, so it is not just the number of you that have come out here. There are a thousand and one others out there.
“On two occasions, we summoned the people in government handling the said screening and verification and what we have asked is are you not done with it? How long are you going to continue in it. You can’t continue with screening endlessly.
“As a member of this government, I am embarrassed by this situation and the issue keeps embarrassing me. This screening is getting too long. I am saying it openly here without minding anything.
“We told them to come out with a position paper on where there are and what they are doing. Also let them let us know what the position of government is on what there are doing and where there are on their job.
“The situation is so pathetic and many of us are both directly and indirectly affected.
We are taking more responsibilities from the affected persons and families. We feel your pains. We support what you are doing and I am happy you are doing it peacefully.
The state assembly supports that you should be paid and reinstated.
“There should be a clear cut decisions over this issue.
If I don’t have the qualification and it is true as proven that I am not qualify, you decide to drop me, state it so clearly.”
Speaking earlier Paul Ojeka, President of Niger Delta Activists Forum, Cross River State Chapter said it was unfortunate that families have lost their livelihood abruptly without notice as a lot have lost their homes and dignity in extension.
He said, “Many were duly employed, many were given confirmation letter but the screening is taking so much time and we believe there is no sincerity in all that is being done. The Cross River state government must as a matter of urgency, attend to this burning issues ,we are dying already.,”
The affected workers had been embarking on protest since Monday, saying they were suffering for more than one year and still counting, without salary.
They had taken the protest to Gov Ben Ayade’s office, State Secretariat and lately, the State House of Assembly for solution to their plight, but government top officials in charge of salary matters were yet to come up with any categorical statement to calm the workers’ frayed nerves.