Environment & Climate ChangeNews

Gabonese Eco-Guards Face Home Eviction As Salary Is Delayed For 5 Months

The delayed salary payment has been blamed on lack of budgetary approval for the region.

Ecological guards (Eco-guards) serving in the Ramsar site of Bas-Ogooue in Lambarene have been working without pay for five months. 

According to the National Parks Agency (ANPN), which is responsible for the management of the Ramsar site, the guards are being owed, because since January this year, the ANPN has not received the budget for its operations.

“The non-reception of the operational budget is on its own due to the stopping of the Support Project for Humid Zones known as PAZH, the principal financer of the national parks,” an ANPN official who opted for anonymity because he is not authorised to talk on behalf of the agency told HumAngle.

“All the five eco-guards who were transferred to Ramsar from the national parks of Loango and Moukalaba Doudou have not received their salaries for five months and all of them have been expelled from their rented homes for not paying the rents.”

The official added that the eco-guards and their families are now “forced to squat at the office where they have been sleeping on the floor.”

HumAngle understands that the controller of the Ramsar site has been doing all in his powers to alleviate the situation of the eco-guards. 

He has just bought mattresses and has rented a villa where he intends to lodge the eco-guards and their families while waiting for a solution from the Executive Secretariat of the ANPN, an insider informed this newspaper.

The affected officials have since been in contact with the respective authorities but “there has never been a reply to any of their mails to even give them a little hope, a friend of one of the guards said.”

The five eco-guards who now feel abandoned are asking to be transferred back to their parks of origin where they have parents and well-wishers.

Left without a budget since the beginning of this year, the Ramsar site has ceased functioning. The controller of the site says he is unable to pay rents for the office and repair the vehicles and boats of the site.

“Unless a solution to this problem is urgently found, there is the risk of the destruction and looting of the natural resources in this region,” one ANPN official declared.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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