Teachers of Primary and secondary schools in Rivers State Government-owned tertiary institutions have cried out over the non-payment of their salaries running into five years.
The affected teachers are from the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education Demonstration Secondary School, Ndele, Rivers state University International Secondary and Staff School, Port Harcourt, and the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic Comprehensive Secondary School, Bori.
The teachers numbering over 250 at a joint media briefing with the Rivers State Civil Society Organization in Port Harcourt alleged that their salaries were stopped on the 18th of February 2016 by the state government.
They claimed that a government directive was issued that names of the affected teachers be expunged from the state government salary voucher.
They, however, appealed to the State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike, to as a matter of urgency pay up the salaries and the accruing arrears to enable them to cater for their families and health needs, saying they were facing untold hardship in the last five years.
They also said despite winning every litigation the state government had refused to pay them, nothing that they may be compelled to embark on a protest on the streets if their pleas were not considered.
“If you look at where we are now, it is like saying that we are almost dead. Many of my colleagues are suffering from one ailment or the other.
“We are pleading with the governor, we are all Rivers’ sons and daughters that he should please reconsider and pay us,” an affected female teacher said.
On his part, one of the male leaders (names withheld) said, “Some of us have put in long years in the service of the school, all of a sudden now we have no income.
“It has been difficult for us to carry on with our families. Some of our children are out of school, so also others. The Governor is our father, let him come to our aid and remove this shame from our faces.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Rivers State Civil Society Organization, Eneefa Georgewill, called on the Governor to urgently respond and clear up the affected teachers’ salaries.
Georgewill said, “The State is a sub-unit of the federal government, and we expect that the Rivers State Government will act responsibly by commencing payment of the teachers’ salaries as well as the arrears accrued during the period the salaries were stopped illegally.
“What will the Rivers State Government gain in all of these? Especially in the face of the fact that an Industrial Court and even a Court of Appeal has instructed the Rivers State Government to pay their salaries.
“We are joining the teachers to plead that the Rivers State Government pay the salaries of these teachers before the end of February 2021 or we will go on a protest.”