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INEC adhoc staff protest non-payment of allowances in Ilorin

Delay caused by security challenge - INEC

MEMBERS  of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, recruited for election exercise  in Ilorin, Kwara State have protested the non-payment of their allowances by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The youth corps members as well as unemployed graduates, not fewer than  150 in number,  hauled insults and abuses at the officials of the INEC  for failing to pay N8,500 training and feeding allowances promised by the commission.

The protesting youths accused the officials of an attempt to embezzle their allowances which was supposed to have been paid on the eve of the election.

As at 12 noon on Saturday, many of them were yet to receive their payment.

When they no longer could bear the wait, the protesters restrained the INEC officials from moving outside the premises until the last person was paid.

One of the protesters, Azeem Ayobami, said he has been at the INEC office since Friday in preparation for deployment to his duty station.

“Many of us slept on the bare floor overnight just to be around for deployment,” he said.

The N8,500 is the allowances for the 4-day training and feeding which the INEC had promised to pay on Friday February 15.

Since the elections have been postponed to February 23 and March 9,  the INEC recruits wanted their allowances be paid promptly before returning to their various homes.

“We could not leave because we did not have money to go back home.
“They should at least pay us something to go back home.”

Though, some of the recruits have received their payment,  majority have been asked to  come back on Monday.

But the protesters would have none of that.

“They [the INEC] have motive of not paying. If election is to hold today, won’t they pay us,” said Ayobami who was urging his colleagues to stay resilient until their demand was granted.

Ayilara Abdulwahab, recruited as assistant presiding officer, said he  he would not leave until he is paid.

“And the INEC officials will not  be allowed to leave too,” he swore.

According to him, their colleagues in order local  government areas already have been paid.

“We called our friends in other local government areas (on phone), and we are told they have been paid,” he said.

Explaining reasons why the fund is inadequate to go round, the Electoral Officer at the INEC office in Akerebiata, Ilorin, Bamidele Olabode, said he did not withdraw enough fund from the bank for security reason.

“It is not safe moving large amount of money around at this time.
The little amount collected has been shared among some of them, but it is  not enough.”

Olabode who was visibly shaken by the rage of protesters said he has called the bank to bring additional cash.
“In less than one hour, they will bring the money,” he told The ICIR.

About 1 pm,  a red Nissan car with registration number GGE240CZ, brought the cash, and the protesters began to jubilate.

The payment continued till the evening.

Another protester, Tosin Adewole, said he would wait, even sleep at the INEC office until he was paid.

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