Over 100 casual workers of the Central Hospital, Benin, took to the streets on Monday to protest their unpaid salaries for between six to eight months.
Patients and staffers alike were locked out of the hospital for several hours and appeals by some staff to allow them access into the hospital fell on deaf ears, forcing some to jump in through the fence.
As a result of the protest, many patients who were brought in with emergency cases were referred to other hospitals.
It took the intervention of the Hospital Management Board and officials of the state chapter o the National Labour Congress, NLC, to allow normal activities at the hospital, at about 10:30am.
One of the protesting casual workers who gave his name as Oghogho said they closed up the hospital because its management failed to fulfil previous promises on the owed salary.
“Our salary is just N10,000 but we don’t get it on time. How can I feed my family when these people don’t want to pay us for six months?”, he queried.
Also speaking, an ambulance driver who simply gave his name as Tony said his three children have been sent away from school over his inability to pay their fees, adding, “they have been making empty promises. They always tell us to be patient”.
Speaking shortly after a meeting with the state commissioner for Health, Eregie Aihanuwa, the vice chairman of NLC in Edo State, Sunny Osayande, promised that all payments would be made before November 15.