By Peter Uwumarogie
Mr Mohammed Ahmed, the General Manager, Gombe State Environmental Protection Agency (GOSEPA), has assured cleaners that no worker would be sacked in spite of signing a new contract with another contractor.
Ahmed gave the assurance while fielding questions from journalists in Gombe on Thursday, following a protest over alleged replacement of casual workers that clean drains and streets in the metropolis.
The GOSEPA boss said it was regrettable that the protest was caused by misinformation, and assured that no worker would be sacked in spite of the new contract.
He said the state government was concerned about the wellbeing and welfare of the casual workers, hence, any decision would be to their best interest.
He said that after the contract with the private environmental vendor, INEX Cleaners, expired, the government decided to advertise to get other companies because of the huge money being expended on INEX.
“Five companies submitted quotations following the advertisement, and the state government signed a new contract with two different environmental vendors based on their favourable financial quotations.
“The government carried out investigation which shows that Gombe government is paying higher than most states to clean its environment.
“According to the contract signed by the previous administration, the state pays INEX N930, 000 to clean one kilometre (km), while other states pay N465, 000 per km,,” he said.
The general manger explained that the casual workers were paid N12,000 each per km and 10 workers were engaged per km which amounted to N120,000 out of the N930, 000 the state government was paying the company.
He said that the state government signed a new contract with the vendor that quoted N450, 000 per km on the condition that all previous workers would be retained and their salaries raised to N15,000.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the casual workers with INEX cleaners came out to protest their alleged disengagement and replacement.
The workers who protested in front of Government House chanted solidarity songs and begged Gov. Inuwa Yahaya to wade into the matter with a view to assuring them of their job security.
Some of the protesters told NAN that some persons in GOSEPA wanted to disobey the governor’s directive which asked the new contractor to retain them, saying; “and we know the governor is not against us”. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)