Teachers of State owned Primary and Secondary schools in Rivers State staged a protest on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 against the failure of the state government to pay their salaries for five years. The protesting teachers were seen displaying various banners while blocking the entrance of the state government house in Port Harcourt in protest.
The teachers and former students of the Demonstration Schools staged the protest in collaboration with the Rivers State Civil Society Organization, which had been in the forefront of their agitation.
The teachers demanded that Dr. Nyesom Wike , the Governor of Rivers State would obey court judgements from the National Industrial Court and the Court of Appeal directing him to pay the teachers the monies due to them.
Mr. Golden Spiff, the Chairman of Parents Teachers Association in one of the Demonstration Schools said while speaking to newsmen that they have resolved to keep up with the protest every month until the state government pays their five years salaries.
“The court gave judgement he (the governor) appealed and lost out in that case and the court said pay these people, but we came here and we told him that if he doesn’t pay, we are going to repeat our visit and we will continue the visit here every month until these monies are paid because we don’t understand if the governor doesn’t understand what demonstration schools mean”, Spiff said.
Moreover, another protester told newsmen on ground at the state house that for five years and three months teachers in Rivers State have been suffering; suffering in pains, suffering in agony and that some even died while waiting to be paid, hence, they that are alive are appealing to the state governor to please obey court orders and pay the teachers.
Mr. Enefa Georgewill, the Chairman of the Rivers State Civil Society Organization, on his part, explained the reason for joining the teachers in the protest.
“For us in the Civil Society Organization, we are here in solidarity with the teachers; our major call is that the Rivers State Government that has a governor that is a lawyer and equally a product of our court should obey the valid court orders as announced by the National Industrial Court and the Court of Appeal.
“It is quite pathetic and wicked for anybody to owe his workers for five years not to talk of a government.
“We think that the resources of the state do not belong to the Rivers State Government or the state governor, it is the resources that belong to the people in the state, and we see no reason the government shouldn’t carry out its statutory duty and by that I mean paying of salaries”, Georgewill said.