A staff member of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority (GPCDA), based in Rivers State has reportedly died as a result of her inability to pay medical expenses in hospital.
A source within the agency disclosed on Sunday that “the staff of the agency were owned salaries for the past six months by the Nyesom Wike led administration in the state.”
The deceased, whose name was given as Mrs Ipalibo Erekosima, died as a result of complications arising from untreated hypertension and kidney infection.
Further information from the source revealed that the deceased was of Kalabari extraction and a native of Buguma in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
According to the source who also pleaded anonymity, Ipali, as she is generally known and called was, until her death, a cleaner who is said to be very diligent in discharging her duties in the agency.
“She was so good at her job that she was converted from a casual worker to a permanent staff by the former administrator of the agency, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam.
“The late Mrs. Erekosima also won an award and was later attached to the board room where she regularly worked to provide cleaning services before and after meetings. Many of her colleagues described her as hardworking and easy-going,” the source added.
Adding: “She took ill after she was transferred out of her duty post by the new administrator, Mr. Desmond Akawor. That transfer meant that she could no longer get some tips which she used to support herself when salaries are delayed.
“The daughter of the deceased, who simply gave her name as Justina, confirmed the death of her mother and the untold hardship she faced during her ill health due to the non-payment of her salaries, lamenting that the family is yet to get enough money for her burial.”
Another source within the agency confirmed the difficulties his fellow staff members have been facing. According to him: “many of us have been ejected from our houses and our children are out of schools, due to our inability to pay our rents and school fees. I am so sad that we lost our sister Ipali.
“However, the truth is that the health of many of us have started failing because we neither have money to feed nor to pay for medical treatment. Wike has been unfair to workers in this state”.
Meanwhile, all the efforts to get the attention of Governor Wike to intervene in the plight of these workers have proved abortive, although his Commissioner of information, Mr. Emmanuel Okah, who is also a board member of the agency, confirmed that the state government is aware of the development.
Recall that in the past one week, Mr. Wike and a delegation of about twenty six politicians from the state have been visiting United States of America and United Kingdom where the state governor is said to be attending to several speaking engagements as well as receiving awards.
However, many groups in the state have criticized the governor for wasting public funds in what they described as “frivolous foreign trips”.