At least 150 ad-hoc workers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday stormed the commission’s secretariat in Awka, Anambra State, demanding the payment of their allowances for the conduct of the March/April 2015 general elections.
They besieged the INEC headquarters in Awka and barricaded the gate of the office, holding the workers and management personnel hostage for several hours.
The aggrieved temporary workers contributed money to buy padlocks and a chain to lock the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Edwin Nwatarali and his workers inside the building.
Appeals by security operatives that they vacated the commission’s gate were ignored, as they chanted and sang that INEC is a debtor organisation.
The security operatives later fired teargas canisters to disperse the crowd while some of them shot into the air to disperse the crowd.
When Nwatarali was contacted through phone for his reaction because movement was restricted to the area, he said he would not talk on phone.
He said: “Please, I do not talk to pressmen on phone, thank you and I will not talk again.”
After about five hours in ‘hostage’, some staff members of the commission pleaded with the protesters to give the commission till September 7, 2015 to address their grievances.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the commission had paid some of the ad-hoc workers with strong connection while those who had nobody to speak for them were unpaid.
Some of the demonstrators told journalists that “Those people do not want to pay us; we learnt the money had been released to them, our colleagues in other states have been paid completely, why is Anambra’s case different?”