Workers strike at embassy of Nigeria in Washington


The indefinite strike by workers of the embassy of Nigeria against the non- payment of salaries for 5 months entered the second consecutive day Wednesday even as talks held between the acting ambassador Hakeem Balogun and striking employees failed to end the deadlock.

Despite denial of the strike action by Mr Balogun, dozens of workers failed to report to their duty post Wednesday.

Government offices remained shut as employees from almost every department joined the strike, except for diplomats from the ministry of foreign affairs, the ministry of interior and the NIA. All local staff are involved in the protest strike. Contract staff employed by the immigration service are helping out in the processing of visas and passports at this time.

In a audio message from the Head of Chancery, one Mr Abam allegedly threatened workers with officials of the Secret Service.

An irate Mr Abam, gathered all the embassy drivers, seized official vehicle keys and asked them to leave putting official diplomatic functions in jeopardy. In the audio he was overheard warning the drivers not to report for duty on Wednesday, asking them to stay at home until Abuja sent their salaries. He threatened to arrest them if they show up at the embassy premises.

Some workers said Mr Hakeem Balogun, acting ambassador, overruled Abam’s threat by pleading with the workers to resume in the interest of the nation.

Workers speaking to this media outfit decry inequality and insecurity at the embassy, “its being condemned all the time-yet nothing changes, except to get worse”. Speaking to Per Second News Tuesday, workers threatened to report to the U.S Department of Labor.

A former accountant of the embassy one Mr Salami joined the acting ambassador to apologize to the striking workers, pleading with them to get back to work. Mr Salami admonished the workers to go back to work in the interest of Nigeria, with acting ambassador Mr Balogun promising to pay the outstanding wages soon.

The striking workers are demanding the payment of their outstanding salaries for the past 5 months.


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