Some workers on the payroll of Rivers Government on Friday pleaded with Gov. Nyesom Wike not to close markets in the state without paying March salary.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Wike had ordered the closure of all markets as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The workers, who pleaded that their names should not be mentioned, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Port Harcourt that the danger of staying without money would be worse than the pandemic itself.
A female secondary school teacher said that the state government ought to pay salary and give Rivers people and residents at least three days to stock their house with essential food items.
“We commend Gov. Wike for taking necessary steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus but the issue of closing all markets when salary has not been paid is a minus.
“What do we tell our children? We can’t tell them that there is no food, no parent will be able to withstand the psychological trauma this decision will cause,” she said.
A staff of the Ministry of Works said that the little money he had could not buy anything in the market because prices of food items had gone up.
“The announcement that markets should close on March 28 has caused panic buying and the effect is that prices of essential goods have tripled.
“We can’t cope with this situation when March salary has not been paid, so I am pleading with Gov. Wike to reconsider his decision and pay salaries first,” he said.
Kesima Opus, a local government worker claimed that council workers would be most affected because they had always received salaries late in the new month.
“It’s an insensitive decision because you can’t be tackling one issue and do something that could make people commit suicide.
“As council workers, we always receive salary of the previous month between 10th and 15th of the new month; so, we are to be paid around April 10.
“How do we cope when the markets are closed? The hunger we experience may be worse than COVID-19 that the government is trying to tackle,” she said.