With mouths to feed, comes bills to pay, but bills can only be paid when one earns an income. We can make excuses for those who don’t have jobs if they don’t have the funds to pay their bills, but when people work and are not paid, it is more disheartening.
When some three young men were offered an opportunity to work at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, as aircraft marshals, by the management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), these young men beckoned on family and friends to glorify God on their behalf as their prayers have been answered after many years of searching for job without success.
They made themselves available for the required training and resumed at the airport after being certified proficient in what they must do. In the last year, they have done this job diligently. They are among the first set of workers to be at their duty posts and usually, the last to leave because their jobs require that they be available at the airport to marshall every aircraft that lands.
When you see them beaming with smiles as they guide an aircraft to their appropriate parking lots, it is not because they have a full pocket, but because they are full of hope that one day, the authorities will remember them and pay them their entitlements. After all, we say in Igbo that; Aguu nwere olileanya anaghi egbu egbu; Hunger with hope doesn’t kill.
But, days have since graduated into weeks, and weeks into months, and it is already over one year since these young men would leave their houses in the morning and return home to eat whatever their wives have been able to scrub out from friends and family, or their little hustle.
This Christmas, while many of us complain about the high cost of commodities in the markets and decry our inability to meet certain responsibilities to our family, these young airport marshals at Imo airport barely found anything to eat. Not because they don’t work, but because they are not getting their wages. Doesn’t a worker deserve his wages again?
The interesting thing is that these young men are grateful for the opportunity to work, to at least leave their houses in the morning and head out to somewhere with some sense of purpose. When I interacted with one of them, he told me how grateful he is to the airport management for giving him a job, but hopes that he and his colleagues will be payrolled one day.
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He pleaded that I shouldn’t do anything that could embarrass the Airport management. But, I know what it means for a man to go to work 365 days of the year and still live like one without a job; begging for food. I had to decide to bring it public, not to embarrass the FAAN management, but to appeal to their good conscience to expedite whatever they are doing to ensure that these young men begin to receive their salaries.
May those concerned be inspired to do the needful and God will bless them