THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to pay many of its ad-hoc staff who participated in the 2023 general elections at the Ifako-Ijaye local government area of Lagos State, The ICIR reports.
Some affected persons are accusing a staff member of the commission, an Electoral Officer (EO), Rita Awhefada, who led them during the elections, of blocking their payment.
According to them, they were supposed to receive N13,000 for each election. The ad-hoc staff were either students or National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members.
The ICIR reporter contacted Awhefada (the EO) on Saturday, May 13, to get her reaction to the accusation. She abruptly ended the call after the reporter introduced himself and the matter.
She declined subsequent calls from the reporter. She did not also respond to text and Whatsapp messages sent to her on the matter.
The ICIR also contacted the INEC Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye. He neither picked up the calls put across by the reporter to his phone nor responded to text and WhatsApp messages sent to him despite proof that he read at least the WhatsApp message.
Five of many ad-hoc staff members allegedly affected spoke with this organisation. They included Olatunbosun Suliyat, Amujo Ronke Felicia, Fatade Victoria Adejoke, Keshinro Adejoke Adetoun and Abosede Hannah.
While Hannah and Suliyat said they had received payment for one (governorship and presidential, respectively), Felicia, Adejoke, and Adetoun claimed they had yet to get paid for any of the exercises.
“I have often been to their office at Ifako Ijaiye, lodging complaints. They advised me to keep coming. At times, they asked me to write down my name on the list of unpaid ad-hoc staff, which I did,” Felicia said.
She explained that they were told to change a particular bank the name of which some of them had submitted for their payment because the bank had issues, and they did. Despite changing the accounts, they had yet to get the payment.
On her part, Adejoke said all ad-hoc staff and INEC officials at the local government were on a WhatsApp platform where they discuss issues bordering the elections and payment.
“Several times, we were asked to retype our accounts, which we did. They explained that some banks had issues, including the one l initially submitted. I was asked to change my account, and l gave them another account number and still did not get paid.
“Initially, they assured us to hold on, promising they were working on it. That was from March to April. But since May, once in a while, they would put on the platform within 30 minutes that we should start coming to the office to lodge a complaint or resend the account number if we cannot come. So, since last week, we’ve not heard anything from them,” claimed Victoria.
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