Some teachers of government primary and secondary school teachers in Rivers State have protested against non-payment of five years salaries by the state government.
On Wednesday, the teachers took over the entrance of the Rivers State Government House with placards bearing different inscriptions such as “Our teachers deserve better treatment, pay them their salaries”, “God is against injustice, please pay our teachers’ salaries”, “Wike, ease our pain and save our education sector”.
They were joined by their former students, family members and members of civil society organisations.
The teachers are workers of primary and secondary schools owned state-owned tertiary institutions.
The affected schools are Rivers State University International Demonstration Secondary School, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo in Port Harcourt; Ignatius Ajuru University of Education’s Staff Primary and Secondary School, Ndele and the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic’s Staff Primary and Secondary School, Bori, all in the state.
They said it was unfair for the government to continue to withhold their monies, especially after a court of competent jurisdiction had ordered payment of same.
Chairman of Rivers State Civil Society Organisations, Enefea Georgewill, condemned the action of the state government in withholding the teachers’ salaries for up to five years.
He called on the state governor to come to the teachers’ aid who he said have been experiencing severe hardship and unable to cater for their families, reminding the governor that he was a beneficiary of teachers training.
He said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the attitude of the governor towards the teachers.
“How can the governor, Nyesom Wike donated N500 million to the Sokoto State government over a fire incident that engulfed a market, whereas teachers in his state are being owed five-year arrears of salaries.
“It is unfortunate we are in a country where people don’t appreciate peace. Violators are those rather placed on payrolls, and pay them every month, while nobody cares about the law-abiding ones.
“More than 26 teachers have died so far, over non-payment of their salaries, the governor should comply with the court order and pay us.”
The governor had stopped payment of salaries of teachers in those schools, saying the tertiary institutions should be generating income to pay the salaries of the teachers of schools under the institutions.