Many teachers in the primary and secondary schools in the Rivers State government owned tertiary institutions blocked Government House on Wednesday to protest their five year unpaid salaries. They were joined in solidarity by their former students, family members and some members of civil society.
The teachers are from the Rivers State University International Demonstration Secondary School, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, 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.
The teachers, who thronged the Government House around 9am, displayed placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘Government is not a personal thing’, ‘Our teachers deserve better treatment, pay them their salaries’, ‘God is against injustice, please pay our teachers’ salaries’, and ‘Wike, ease our pain and save our education sector’.
The Chairman, Rivers State Civil Society Organisations, Enefea Georgewill, expressed sorrow at the attitude of the state government for denying the teachers’ salaries for up to five years.
He said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the attitude of the governor towards the teachers. How can the governor, Nyesom Wike, donate N500m 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?”
Speaking on behalf of the teachers, Mr Collins Spiff said they had vowed to continue the protest until the governor attended to their matter.
He stated: “It’s unfortunate that we are in a country where people don’t appreciate peace. Violators are those rather placed on payrolls and paid every month, while nobody cares about the law-abiding ones.
“More than 26 teachers have died so far over the non-payment of their salaries; the governor should comply with the court order and pay us.”
No Government House official was around to attend to or address the protesters.