By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
Scores of horticulturist on Wednesday stormed office of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to protest against their unpaid three years salaries.
The protest claimed that all promises made by the government on the three years unpaid salaries and other benefits accrued to them have not been fulfilled.
They argued that the while waiting for the government to pay their money, some members fell sick and died during the process.
Besides, the protesters lamented that the continued delay in payment has affected their ability to meet family needs in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the gardeners, Chairman, Lagos Landscapers Association, Adesoji Adelawokan, told newsmen that they resulted to the protest when efforts to get the governor to approve their funds has continued to prove abortive.
Adelawokan explained that the crisis started immediately the Ambode administration assumed office, saying, what we were meant to earn in 2015 was paid in 2017. And despite the delay, we kept faith with the government.
The chairman noted that rather than the government to improve in payment, the issue had continued to get worse with no plans to pay them
“If we fail to come out, we may not get the money from the government. Since last year, we were told that the file containing our documents were already before the governor. We do not know our fate. We cannot replace the tool. We hope that this will ginger the governor to pay us our money,” he added.
The gardeners’ legal adviser, Victoria Durugo, in an interview with newsmen, lamented that the money expected by each gardener could be easily afforded by the government.
According to her, they are suffering because the government they worked for has not paid them. And while waiting for their payment, two of their members have died.
“It is pathetic that the government has denied them their money after working to ensure the climate change does not have adverse effect on the state.”
Responding, the Public Affairs Officer, Lagos State Parks and Garden, LASPARK, Abdul-Lateef Sanusi, told newsmen that the allegations raised by the protesters were false.
Sanusi stressed that the state government has never failed reneged in paying their money, saying, I do not know where they got three years they quote.
According to him, all the government that was left by the government to pay the horticulturist was the third and fourth quarter of 2018.