A senior civil servant in the Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State, Mr. Ojo Owolabi, has attempted to end his life by drinking a large quantity of insecticide because of his inability to feed his family due to the failure of the state government to pay salaries.
It will be recalled that civil servants in the state have not been paid their salaries in the last six months.
The Punch reports that the incident which happened at Owolabi’s residence last Saturday caused pandemonium in the neighborhood.
It was gathered on Thursday May 21, that Owolabi, who is a sanitary officer at the council was receiving treatment at a hospital.
A source close to Owolabi said he became frustrated as a result of his inability to meet his family’s needs.
The source said, “Baba Ibeji ( Owolabi) drank herbicide. He was frustrated because he has been unable to feed himself and other members of his family.
“You are aware that the state government has not paid workers for some months now. I think he just lost hope and decided to take his life by drinking Gramoxone.
“Members of his family rushed him to a hospital in Ile Ife, where he was admitted. We are praying that he survives it.”
Owolabi’s wife and children were said to have relocated from their apartment and could not be reached for comment.
The Chairman of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Mr. David Owoeye, tacitly confirmed the incident to our correspondent on the telephone.
Owoeye said, “Has the news spread to you? We don’t want to make it public so that it will not embarrass the family.”
A factional Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Gambi Yusuf, said the unpaid salaries had caused the workers untold hardship.
Yusuf said, “Anybody who is not paid for six months is a walking corpse. What do you expect him to eat? Even if the workers can fast, won’t they break their fast?
“How do you expect them to feed their children?
“The government of the day should be more serious about workers’ welfare.
“We are appealing to the government to pay workers because workers deserve their wages.”
The Director of the state Bureau of Communication, Semiu Okanlawon, said, “I am not aware of the incident and I don’t see the nexus between a man drinking poison and when the government will pay workers’ salaries.”
The state police spokesperson, Folasade Odoro, could not be reached on the telephone. She had also yet to reply to a text message sent to her phone.
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