From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
A private laundry staff engaged by the Edo state commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Blessing Maigida, has embarked on an indefinite hunger strike.
The 22 Year old Mary Enogieru, said her action was to protest the alleged refusal by the commissioner to pay her six months’ salary arrears totalling N30, 000 (Thirty thousand Naira).
Making the accegation in an exclusive interview with Peoples Daily, Mary said she worked for Mrs Maigida three years ago at her laundry shop, located in Okpame Lane, off Sapele Road in Benin City, before it was shut. She disclosed that Mrs Maigida agreed to pay her N5000 (five thousand Naira) monthly.
She alleged that Mrs Maigida defaulted by paying three months out of the nine months she worked for her before the shop was shut. According to her, “When I saw her on the television screen being addressed as commissioner, I recognised her”. She has not been responding to her calls, she said.
Mary, a twin, sought the intervention of the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, the Oba of Benin and other kind-hearted individuals to prevail on the commissioner to pay her the salary arrears, as she claimed she does not have the financial capacity to challenge the action in court.
“I worked with her for nine months; she paid me three months and my monthly salary was N5,000 (five thousand Naira), remaining my balance of six months…On a certain day, when I got to the shop to resume duty in the morning, neighbours told me the owner of the shop has packed at night. They did not tell me why she packed out of the shop… I was employed as Secretary, but at a point in time, I was made to wash cloths’’, she said.
When contacted, the commissioner, Mrs Maigida however said Miss Enogieru is not known to the family. Maigida, who looked forlorn and stuttered momentarily, requested our correspondent to cross-check his story and disregard the allegation.
“I do not know her, neither am I owing her…If she needs help, she ought to come to my office instead of resorting to blackmail. What is N30, 000 after all that I cannot pay? After I have assisted other people that are not known to me before’’, she said.
A staff working in the commissioner’s office however told our correspondent in a telephone interview that ‘’there is an iota of truth about what my Madam denied earlier’’. She confided in me that it was actually true and have discussed it with her husband’, he said.
The staff however said plans were under-way to settle the debt through the back door.