Aggrieved workers of the Ondo State Emergency Medical Services Agency (ODEMSA) on Monday protested the failure of the state government to pay their salaries for 12 months.

The workers lamented that refusal to pay their salaries was taking a heavy toll on them, as they had all been working hard without pay.

They stormed the government office at Alagbaka in Akure with solidarity songs, demanding payment of their salaries starting from June 2017. 

Many of them also asked the state government to revalidate their 'letter of permanency' with the agency in order to become full-fledged staff. 

ODEMSA workers said they were living in penury, following their abandonment by the government.

Accusing Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of insensitivity to their agitation, they carried placards that read, among others:  'Governor Akeredolu Hear Our Cry', 'Pay Our 12 Months Old Salaries', 'Save Us All From Hunger', 'Hunger Is Killing Us', 'Our Job Is A Life Saving Job'.

Samuel Aderoju, leader of the protesters, said that the last time they received their salaries was in June 2017. He lamented that effforts to reach out to the Akeredolu-led government repeatedly met brick walls. 

"We are the emergency rescue team on the highway but while we are all rescuing people, we are not being rescued as our salaries are not being paid," he said. 

"We are being owed 12-month salaries; some of us have sick children at home; we have wives and many of us have become debtors.

"The suffering is getting too much on us and we don't want to die until the government rescues us from our situation because things are hard." 

He stated that some workers of the agency who are contract staff had been fighting for their permanency since the inception of the Akeredolu administration. 

Mr. Aderoju noted that although the state government had carried out a verification exercise to absorb the contract staff fully into the system, the result of the exercise was being deliberately withheld to frustrate workers out of the agency.  

"The Units of the Extricator and Call Center in the agency have not been staffed and we are waiting for their permanency and revalidation," he said. "The total strength of the workforce in the two units is 120."

SaharaReporters contacted the state Ministry of Health for reactions but non of the top officials was willing to discuss the issue.  

Also, calls made to the Commissioner of Health, Wahab Adegbenro, were not connecting as of the time of leaving the Ministry and filling this report.

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