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Bayelsa Teachers Reject Dickson’s Half Salary

Bayelsa, Dickson
Posted: Jun 17, 2016 at 10:29 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Igoniko Oduma Yenagoa

Hundreds of aggrieved teachers in Bayelsa State on Friday took to the streets to protest against Governor Seriake Dickson’s decision to pay them 50 percent of May salary out of the five months they were being owed.

The teachers had gathered at the Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa to receive their salaries after several promises without fulfilment by the governor.

It was gathered that trouble however started when they (teachers) noticed that the government was only willing to pay half  of their May salaries.

The teachers, who were not pleased with the situation, rejected the offer, stormed out of the centre and marched to the streets in protest.

Before the protest, the unhappy teachers had met the governor in the morning while jogging amid tight security and he reportedly told them to manage what was available, promising to pay them January salary at the end of June.

But the teachers were reportedly angry because they were not paid in January when civil servants in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) last received their full month salaries.

One of the teachers, who pleaded anonymity, said the teachers had expected the governor to pay them January salary in full first before negotiating half payment for May.

“We got a message this morning that we should come here that they wanted to pay us our salary. The annoyance is that the governor paid civil servants January salary but he did not pay us and now he wanted to pay half salary for May instead of paying us January salary.

“January, we have not been paid, February we are not paid, March, April have not been paid and now May you want to pay half . We are now in June. We were there in the Government House.

“We assembled in front of the Government House and the governor was passing after he went for jogging.  He called the leader of our group and told him to tell us to be patient and accept the half salary for May and that at the end of this month he would pay January salary,” the teacher complained.

He alleged that the state National Union of Teachers (NUT) had been bought over by the government, saying the leader of the union is the governor’s kinsman.

“What we are saying is that we cannot accept half salary for May without our January salary being paid to us. The issue of the January salary should be addressed,” he said.

Also, the teachers were said to have sent a delegation to the office of Mr. Markson Fefegha, Commissioner for Education, to discuss the matter.

It was learnt that the delegation told Fefegha they would not accept the half salary for May and asked the government to keep the money in teachers’ account pending when it would be complete.

However, in a swift response, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dickson, claimed in a statement on Friday that teachers under the auspices of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) commended the government for the payment of 50 per cent salary to workers in the state.

“The teachers also backed the ongoing staff verification exercise. They expressed confidence that the verification will flush out ghost workers from the pay roll,” the statement said.

It  further promised the teachers that the governor had approved the payment of their January salary.

The statement noted that  payment of the January salary is meant to bring the teachers to level with other workers in the state.