Security guards attached to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in Calabar on Wednesday denied staff access to the Cross River State office.
The aggrieved casual security workers alleged that they have not been paid for over five months.
It was learnt that the ministry’s offices in the other states of operation, namely Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Bayelsa were also shut down for the same reason.
Staff members were seen loitering around the complex, while the security guards locked the gate in order to prevent vehicular movement into the premises located along Parliamentary Extension Road in Calabar.
One of the aggrieved workers who spoke on condition of anonymity said life had become unbearable for them since the development.
She lamented that they took the action in order to draw the ministry’s attention to their plight.
“They last paid us in March 2016 and each time we complained, they promised that we would soon be paid. Life has become unbearable for us in this harsh economy.
“Apart from salary, the little welfare package that used to go round, especially during festive period, was not extended to us. Yet, we come to work everyday to perform our duties.
“We were contract staff, but the contract was terminated in February 2015; but some of us were retained, but since then, we have only been paid thrice.
“There are eight security men and six cleaners here. As I speak, what is happening here is also happening in all the other southern states where we have the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs,” she said.
A top official who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak, said the issues raised would be resolved at the ministry’s head office in Abuja.Punch