From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
PRIMARY and secondary schools teachers in Imo State, yesterday, stormed the State House in protest over the non-payment of 12 months salaries by the government.
The angry teachers who arrived the State House as early as 8am sang solidarity songs such as “We are not ghost workers”, ‘Hope we are not fraudsters”, “Pay us our one year salaries.”
They said their salaries were paid last in February 2020, just one month after Hope Uzodimma became governor.
The teachers said the non-payment of their salaries and accruing arrears had brought suffering and hardship on them and their families and appealed to the governor to offset the arrears.
Governor Uzodimma while addressing Imo people at Dan Anyiam Stadium venue of his one year anniversary celebration had asked any civil servant who claims not to have been paid to come to Government House, Owerri.
However, Mrs. Grace Ajaegbu, who teaches at Community School, Udo, Ezinihitte Mbaise, countered the governor saying she has been tagged a ghost worker after spending 29 years in service, and not paid her salary.
“Since the tenure of this governor began, I have not received a dime. The last salary I got was in February, 2020. It is 12 months now. I am not a fraudster as the governor claimed, neither am I a ghost worker. As am talking to you now, I have not eaten anything since yesterday. What did I do that I should be treated like this? 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 Imo sons and daughters. He should please reconsider and pay us.”
On her part, Mrs. Juliet Akalazu from Mbaitoli who said she had spent eight years in service, said “since March last year, I have not received any kobo as a salary.”
“The governor said we are fraudsters and ghost workers. That prompted us to come with every document with which we were employed. We want the governor himself to verify our claims. I am old in this field and I am preparing for my retirement. But Since one year, we have done about 13 different verifications on this matter, yet, the governor doesn’t want to pay us.
“We submitted our documents to the office of Accountant General; submitted to the Head of service; submitted to the Ministry of Information, Education Ministry, Secondary Education Management Board(SEMB), State Universal Basic Education Management Board (SUBEB), and so on.”