After three days of protests by workers of the Ministry of Finance over unpaid N1.2bn overtime allowance, which resulted into the total shutdown of activities, there were indications on Wednesday that the money might be paid following the intervention of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
The civil servants had since Monday shut down the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja over what they described as poor welfare condition since the assumption of office of Adeosun.
The workers had expressed disappointment over the non-payment of the entitlements due to them, adding that except their demands were met, they would not stop the protest.
They vowed to shut down business activities at the ministry for five days if the minister and the permanent secretary did not address their plight.
Following the momentum, which the workers’ agitation was gaining, and coupled with the fact that their actions had stopped the monthly Federal Accounts Allocation Committee meeting, Adeosun finally showed up at the ministry on Wednesday
The minister, who had for the past two days avoided the protesting workers by staying away from the office, arrived at the ministry at about 8am amid tight security.
An indication that the minister would come to the office was given during the early hours of the day as over 70 security personnel from the Nigerian Police Force were stationed at strategic locations, both within and outside the premises of the ministry.
Their presence, according to one of the officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, was to prevent a breakdown of law and order, and to also forestall any form of attack on the minister.
The ministry had insisted that the allowance was illegal and was not captured in the financial regulation and the 2016 budget.
As was the case in the last two days, the workers on Wednesday also blocked all entrances leading to the ministry to prevent the conduct of business activities.
As soon as the protesting workers saw the convoy of the minister approaching, they rushed to the gate to prevent her from gaining access to the ministry.