Several street sweepers who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday said the Lagos State government is yet to pay them their May salaries.
The sweepers said they are not hopeful of getting their June salary since they had not received the one for the month before.
A video had gone viral on social media Tuesday showing street sweepers dumping their jumpsuits in protest of unpaid salaries and saying they would no longer do their work.
“What is the essence of working and not being paid? We don’t want your clothes anymore, take it,” people were seen saying in the video.
There was a heap of the work jumpsuits on the ground with the protesting workers calling on the government to take them back.
On Wednesday, a PREMIUM TIMES reporter spoke to many of the orange jumpsuit and green jumpsuit-clad women at the highway. They said they were not part of the protest, but had not received their salary for the month of May.
“They have paid us for April, we are expecting May salary and June is not yet over. Our supervisor said they will pay for May soon,” one of the women answered.
“They don’t owe us, we can only say they are owing for May, June is not yet over, so we cannot add June,” another woman from the group interrupted while the women kept on chatting.
Rofiat Alimi, a street sweeper with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), said she was not aware of any protest and if there was any, they would have been informed.
“All I know is that they are yet to pay for June, but (the) supervisor said it will be paid.”
Mrs Alimi further explained that since many street sweepers are under different contractors, it was difficult to speak for others.
Hakeem Akinyele, the Public Relations Officer of LAWMA, told PREMIUM TIMES that the people protesting in the video that went viral are not genuine street sweepers.
“If you take a close look, how many people came forward to dump that amount of uniforms. Very few people came forward to dump that large amount of uniforms.
“Secondly, those uniforms they dumped, do they look like uniforms that have been worn overtime and have gone through the weather conditions, rain and sun?”
Mr Akinyele said genuine sweepers are sweeping the streets of Lagos even on Wednesday morning.
“People who are genuinely engaged by genuine contractors are on the street, sweeping and working.”
The spokesperson said there is an audit exercise going on to know those that are the genuine sweepers.
Punch Newspaper had reported on Monday that some operators under LAWMA had their contracts terminated for violating some terms of agreement with the state government.
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Many of the contractors, who are politicians, are said to have defrauded the government of millions of naira by inflating the wage bills and numbers of street sweepers under them.
Mr Akinyele said majority of the sweepers are not street sweepers because, all over Lagos, are people sweeping, hence the protesters are unreal.
He further said as for May and June salaries for workers, they would be paid once the audit is completed.
“The audit exercise will give us the actual number of street sweepers and they will be paid,” he added.
Mr Akinyele said the contractors are responsible for the workers and the audit was because many were found guilty of shady dealings.