- Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not happy that COVID-19 workers in Edo are being owed
- The APC governorship candidate described the actions of the Edo state government towards the workers as unacceptable
- The government, however, said the workers would be paid their outstanding allowance after vetting their payroll
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Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has condemned the reported non-payment of three months allowance due to the Edo state COVID-19 mobile screening team.
The team reportedly staged a protest on Tuesday, June 30 in Benin, lamenting that the state government failed to pay their allowances for three successive months and dismissed them without settlement of outstanding bills.
Ize-Iyamu, the aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Edo state 2020 governorship election, described the actions of the Edo state government towards the team as “callous, inhumane, and unacceptable.”
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In a statement signed by the spokesman of his campaign organization, John Mayaki, Pastor Ize-Iyamu demanded immediate payment of the allowances alongside a public statement of apology by the state government to the team.
He also reassured the screening team of his solidarity and support to ensure that all their demands are met without any retributive actions.
Part of the statement read: “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.
“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.”
The screening team at the centre of the controversy comprises of medical doctors, health personnel, contact tracers, data collectors among others.
They were employed by the Edo government as ad-hoc staff to trace people who have had contact with COVID-19 patients, all in a bid to ramp up testing in the state.
They were reportedly disengaged via WhatsApp message from the incident manager without due payment of monthly allowances.
Responding to inquiries by journalists, the Edo state government said the workers would be paid their outstanding allowance upon the conclusion of the vetting of their payroll.
Spokesman of Governor Godwin Obaseki, Mr Crusoe Osagie, in a statement, said the task force was demobilised after the state exceeded its target to screen and test over 500,000 and 5,000 persons respectfully.
“The target has been achieved and surpassed. This has led to the modification of our response to the pandemic. With this, the taskforce was demobilised across the screening centres at mobile posts, borders and several other locations,” he said.
He further said the delay in payment of allowances was as a result of the vetting of the list of volunteers and other frontline workers, which would be resolved within the week.
Meanwhile, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Edo state, Kassim Afegbua, has declared that he will not support Governor Obaseki's ambition to be re-elected for a second term in office.
Afegbua, a former spokesman to General Ibrahim Babangida and former information in the state, disclosed this on Monday, June 29 during an interview with Channels Television.
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