An engineer with Bayelsa State Water Board, Peter Ogiero, has committed suicide over unpaid 13 months salaries owed him by the state government.
Ogiero, a middle aged man, who suffered stroke last year when he found it extremely difficult to care for himself, let alone his family, was said to have taken his life on Tuesday after waiting endlessly for his unpaid salary arrears.
The deceased, said to be hypertensive, was frustrated as he was unable to care for the basic needs of wife and four children, especially since he had no longer source of income.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday learnt that his agony increased when his second wife left him along with his three children. Though he was left with a teenager, (Wilson) he could barely survive.
According to neighbours, Ogiero who had remarried his second wife following the death of Wilson’s mother was heard on many occasions to have lamented how life has been unkind to him.
He decided to kill himself by taking sniper, an insecticide.
When Nigerian Pilot Saturday visited the Ogiero residence in Okaka area of the metropolis yesterday, the deceased’s relations, who wore forlorn looks, could only stuttered as they struggled to narrate how the deceased lived in penury and died out of frustration.
A niece of the deceased, who gave her name only as Tina, said the deceased had been suffering from stroke for over 12 months.
“The stroke was caused by too much of thinking due to the fact that the state government has been owing him (deceased) salaries for 13 months.
“This state of affairs has caused many issues in the deceased’s home. At a point, when his wife could no longer bear the situation, she ran away from home with his three children to their village,” adding that Wilson and herself were directed by the family to stay with and care for him.
Narrating how Ogiero was living when he was alive amid sobs, Tina said that the situation was so awful and precarious that the deceased found it extremely difficult to get money to buy drugs recommended by doctors.
“We hoped upon hope that the situation would ameliorate and that the government would pay him the salary they owed him but all to no avail. When salary did not come, we tried to manage with the little money given to us by the deceased’s sister, uncle and sometimes by his colleagues. But this did not suffice as it was not coming regularly. So, at a point, we found it really hard to buy him drugs and food sometime.”
She said as they were hoping that things would get better someday, they had no inkling that the deceased had his own plans, to free himself from the frustration he was enmeshed in.
Tina said that on the fateful Tuesday, while they had gone out to look for what Ogiero would eat before taking his drugs, they returned home to see him lying on the ground, gasping for breath.
Not long after, Ogiero gave up the ghost, Tina said, stutteringly.
“That was how my uncle died. On a close observation, we discovered that he drank a sniper to take his own life out of frustration and poverty,” she stated.
Ogiero’s colleague at the water board, who identified himself simply as Raymond, also corroborated Tina’s account.
Raymond said, “My friend was strong and healthy before the state government stopped paying us salaries. The situation led to his frustration and this in turn led to an increase in his blood pressure which later resulted in stroke that worsened his frustration.
“As of now, we are being owed 13-month salaries. The head of our agency has made several efforts in writing and appeals to the state government to pay our salaries and allowances but to no avail. Another month has ended, making it 14 months.”
He said it was not just only him and the deceased that were owed, it also affected over 150 workers in the corporation.
Raymond said some of them had worked with the board for more than 15 years, wondering why the government was so indifferent to their plight.
He said worse still, many of the workers at the board had worked for close to 15 years as casual workers, without the regularisation of their designations.
Raymond lamented that the government had been treating workers of the board with disdain and scorn, wondering what they had done to deserve being treated as sub-humans.

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