Sweepers’ Protest: Obaseki Sacks Commissioner, Waste Management GM

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday sacked the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Mr. Reginald Okun.

Obaseki also approved the retirement of the General Manager of the Edo State Waste Management Board, Mr. Aiyamenkue Akonofua.

The governor, according to a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie, also ordered the redeployment of the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. R. E. Obahiagbon.

He urged the disengaged officials to hand over their duties to the most senior government officials in their offices with immediate effect.

While thanking the affected appointees for their service and wishing them well in their future endeavours, he also directed them to hand over all government property in their possession to the appropriate authorities.

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Although the statement did not give the reasons for Obaseki’s action, our correspondent learnt it might not be unconnected with the protest by the street sweepers in Benin on Tuesday.

The street cleaners had staged a protest over the alleged non-payment of their outstanding allowances by the Edo State Government.

The protesters claimed that they were owed allowances spanning six months, a situation which they said exposed them to hardship and debts.

They had also accused the government of failing to fulfil its earlier promise to pay their entitlements.

Obaseki had said that the government was not indebted to them as they were hired by contractors. But the aggrieved sweepers maintained that they were engaged by the government.

It was gathered that the governor was angered by the poor handling of the contractors by the ministry. A source at the Government House, who did not want to be named, told our correspondent that Obaseki also viewed the continual protests by the cleaners as an embarrassment to his administration.

The source said, “It was in response to the outcry by the sweepers. The sweepers protest yesterday (Tuesday). It was the poor management of the contractors by the commissioner, GM and the board that led to the incessant strikes by the street sweepers. So, that was why the governor took the decision.”

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