Workers of the Ondo State Emergency Medical Services Agency, ODEMSA today protested at the governor’s office in Akure against the non-payment of their 12 months salary by the state government.
The workers sang solidarity songs and displayed various placards with inscriptions such as “pay our 12 months’ salary,” “rescue us to rescue others on the roads,” “hunger is killing us, ” “save our roads from death,” “give our lives priority, and rescue our families,” and “our job is a life-saving job.”
They also complained of neglect by the Akeredolu-led government’s since he got into office.
Leader of the protesters, Mr. Samuel Adeyoriju who spoke with SUNSHINE HERALD said they are protesting because the government has refused to convert them to permanent staff, and left them unattended to for the last one year.
“The purpose of the protest was that our 12 months salary was not paid, and the verification has been done for about 1 month and some weeks ago, and they wanted us to be going to the office, and we have been going to the office, but no money to run our up and doing, and our family don’t have anything.
“We have also been in dilemma on the outcome of the protest, we don’t know the next action, that is why we want them to pay our 12 months salary from June 2017 up to this June,” he said.
He stated further that the units that protested were the extricator and call center units, out of the five units in the agency.
According to him, the other 3 units (paramedics, driving and data processing), have been settled by the state government.
ODEMSA was established on March 24, 2010, by the Olusegun Mimiko-led administration.
It has as its function to provide emergency medical pre-hospital (ambulance) and hospital (trauma care) and road services, along crash-prone highway corridors in the state to salvage the lives of accident victims on the roads.
The agency has 5 base stations across the state (Ilara-Mokin, Ore, Bolorunduro, Oka-Akoko, and Owo).
It also has its information center at Laje in Ondo West local government.
Reacting, Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro said he was not aware of the protest.
He, however, said the government is doing its best to ensure the workers are made permanent staff of the state government.
According to him, the delay in their permanency is due to civil service bureaucracy.
“They were employed by the last administration, and their employment was not regularised, so when we came on board, we started looking at it. From our own end, we had to source for funds and pay them initially.
“Because they are not regularised, the system does not accommodate their payment.
“We started the process of regularising. We have written a memo, but Mr. Governor is still considering skilling up the EMS activities. Currently, the system is working on it, when we get approval, we will go ahead and regularise.
“I have explained this to them, that they have to bear with the system now, because of the way civil service works. Files have to move from one place to the other before the whole issue is resolved.
“If their previous employer had regularised their appointment like other staff of the EMS, they would have been taking their pay.
“The process is on, and it takes some time for these things to be regularised, you know the civil service procedure. It is not a one-man business that you can just wake up and say you are doing this, due process must be followed.
“I sympathise with them on their ordeal, but that is the situation for now. Hopefully, very soon, the situation will be over, and everybody will be home and dry,” he said.