Cemetery attendants in Kano have issued an ultimatum to the state government to settle their 28 months’ arrears of salaries, threatening to commercialise their services in the state.
The workers, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Saturday in Kano, complained that their salaries had not been paid for the past two years, despite their outcry over the injustice.
They stated that they may be forced to impose levies on families wishing to bury their loved ones in the cemeteries, if the government failed to pay their entitlements.
“It is the responsibility of the Kano State Government to cater for the welfare of graveyard workers, who are in charge of digging graves, as well as the maintenance of the cemeteries across the state, but since we were placed under the local government, our payment has been irregular,” one of the cemetery attendants told Northern City News.
It was learnt that some of the cemetery attendants earn N18,000 monthly, while the casual workers among them receive between N3,000 and N5,000 as salary.
Speaking further on their plight, the attendant said, “We will compel families of the deceased to pay N20,000 upfront for digging their graves. We all have families and we work almost every day.
“The state government used to pay us N3,000 monthly but it has since stopped. For the past 20 months we have not been paid the allowances. We are facing hardship as our challenges are enormous.
“When the Abdulahi Ganduje-led government came on board, they commenced the payment but later stopped.
“Due to the paltry amount we get from the families of the deceased, the graveyard workers have decided to introduce fixed charges, which must be paid upfront before we dig any grave, if the government fails to pay our outstanding arrears, within the next five months.”
The chairman of the association of cemetery attendants in Kano State, Anwal Bakinzuwo, said the association would charge N20,000 for digging of graves at the expiration of their ultimatum.
“Digging of graves for the dead aged 50 years and above will attract N20,000 while that of youths and infants will attract N10,000 charge. We will consider the individual’s social status; and the concerned families must pay before we render our services,” he said.