Properties worth millions of naira were on Friday thrown into the rain in Calabar as a court bailiff carried out an eviction order in the Cross River State office of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Punch newspaper reports.
Apart from properties, at least 40 workers were also ejected from their offices in the complex following N7m rent allegedly owed the house owner of the building along the Parliamentary Road area of the state capital.
Some confused workers, who craved anonymity, lamented the sorry situation which they said was a disgrace to the ministry.
Items such as office furniture, television sets, printers, computers, air conditioners, documents and other vital office facilities were left unprotected under the downpour.
An unidentified bailiff from one of the magistrate's court in Calabar, who carried out the exercise as early as 8am, said the situation was as result of failure of the ministry to pay the rents over the years.
The bailiff carried out the eviction order in the presence of security agents despite the downpour.
He said, "We never anticipated that there would be rainfall. We had no option than to carry out the court order as a result of the series of failures by the tenants. They could not dispute the fact that they owed over N7m rent for some years now and they have not shown any seriousness in offsetting the bill that was why this order was sought."
Efforts to speak with the coordinator in charge of the state office of the ministry, Mr. Francis Ukpo, proved abortive as he was said to have proceeded to the federal secretariat along the Murtala Mohammed Highway to secure another office accommodation.
But an aggrieved staff who already drenched lamented that it was unfortunate that running costs for state offices were being paid into private accounts instead of the office account.
"There are a lot of sharp practices taking place in the ministry. We have been having issues in the running of state offices lately. You cannot imagine that running costs for state offices are being paid into private accounts. Who knows if it is such fraud that has led to the inability to pay for rents? This is a disgrace and waste because some properties will surely go bad in this rain," he said.