Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has condemned the non-payment of three months allowance due to the Edo State COVID-19 mobile screening team by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-administration.
Earlier on Tuesday, the team staged a protest in Benin City, the state capital, decrying the state government’s failure to pay their allowances for three successive months and abrupt dismissal of the programme without settlement of the outstanding bills.
But in a statement by John Mayaki, Director of Communication and Media of his Campaign Organization, Ize-Iyamu demanded immediate payment of the allowances alongside a public statement of apology by the state government.
He also described the actions of the government towards the screening team as “callous, inhumane, and unacceptable.”
The APC governorship candidate further decried the “indignity and inhumane treatment” of the team by the administration amid allegations that the governor paid N15 billion to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to secure the party’s governorship ticket.
Ize-Iyamu expressed his solidarity with the protestors, assuring them of his commitment to ensure that all their demands are met quickly.
“We observed today with concern the protest staged by young men and women of our state engaged by the Obaseki-led Edo State Government to form the mobile team that conducted screenings for COVID-19 in Edo State over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s refusal to pay their due allowances for three full months,” the statement said.
“These people are patriotic citizens who carried out an important assignment, at great risk to their own personal health, which proved crucial in the fight against the viral disease in the state. To see them subjected to such indignity and inhumane treatment by the Obaseki-administration is saddening and extremely disappointing.
“We find it especially odious and unacceptable that this is happening while Governor Godwin Obaseki is widely credited to have caused a ‘money rain’ in the PDP with a particular media report and EFCC petition alleging that he spent 15 billion naira on the PDP tax collectors and delegates to secure the party’s governorship ticket.”
“While his new-found allies in the PDP celebrate a new dawn of cash supply from questionable sources, responsible and dutiful workers on the payroll of the state such as the COVID-19 mobile screening team are left unpaid in the middle of an economic disruption that has caused a price hike in the cost of basic goods.
“It is another sad episode reflective of the Obaseki-administration’s heartlessness and irresponsible prioritization of politics over the welfare of the people.
“Even as he continues to double down on doubtful claims that his administration has spent billions on the management of COVID-19 in the state without any accountability, the people have voiced loud dissatisfaction with all government interventions.
“While we demand the immediate payment of all allowances due to the mobile screening team with an attendant public statement of apology to them and other members of the public for the government’s insensitivity and callous treatment, we wish to express our solidarity with the protestors as they struggle for what is rightfully theirs and convey our commitment to ensure that all their demands are met quickly and without retributive actions feared by some with knowledge of the tyrannical tendencies of the Obaseki-administration.”