Hundreds of teachers from Primary and Secondary schools owned by the Rivers State Government barricaded the state Governor Nyesom Wike’s convoy from entering thegovernment House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The over 200 teachers vowed to continue their protests until their unpaid five years salaries were paid.
The unpaid teachers are from Ignatius Ajuru University of Education Demonstration Secondary School, Ndele and Seashell Model Primary School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State University International Secondary and Staff Schools, Port Harcourt and Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic Comprehensive Secondary School, Bori in Khana Local Government Area.
The aggrieved teachers further accused Nyesom Wike of expunging their names from the state government salary voucher.
The teachers also demanded that the state Governor obeys the National Industrial Court Order that directed that they should be paid their salaries and the subsequent order of the Court of Appeal in Owerri, which acknowledged them as genuine and qualified teachers of the state owned schools.
Representatives of the aggrieved teachers stated that the National Industrial Court had on June 13, 2018, delivered the judgement in their favour, stating that “the Governor’s directive stopping the payment of teachers salaries is unlawful, null and void”.
The teachers also revealed that the state government appealed the judgement, adding that the appeal was struck out on October 31, 2020 by Justice Ita G. Mbaba led court of Appeal in Owerri over lack of merit.
Chairman of the Parents Teachers Association of the schools, Mr Golden Spiff, urged the governor to consider the plight of the teachers and pay their years of salaries, stressing that some of the unpaid teachers have died following untold hardship and inability to medically take care of their health conditions.
He lamented that the state has enough money to care for its citizens, especially teachers who gives so much to build the future of the state.
He said: “Court has ordered the Governor to pay us our salaries but he doesn’t want to pay. As I speak to you Rivers State has too much money, Soku Oil Well that was taken is back, the former governor was paying us until the arrival of Nyesom Wike.
“Why the pains and suffering on Rivers people. The other time we came here, we were told he went to commission a flyover, now we are here again and they told us he is not around again, are you now afraid of the Government House. We will wait untill he returns to the Government House?
The protesting teachers who were in the sun for hours demanding for their salaries were shouting “Wike pay us, you have children, there is life after power. You cannot continue to maltreat us like this and your children are going to the best schools, you are eating well everyday”.