500 lawyers, teachers protest against alleged delisting of names from Cross River payroll
The aggrieved civil savants, numbering over 500, blocked the entrance to the Governor’s Office with placards such as, “We are not ghost workers, pay us our salaries,” “We need our two months salaries,” “Look for ghost workers elsewhere, not among us” and “It is our statutory right.”
The protesters had first gone to the accountant-general’s office and locked the gate before proceeding to the governor’s office, which is a stone throw.
Mr. Henry Abuh, who spoke on behalf of the protesting teachers, who were mainly science teachers, said they were employed in 2016 by Governor Ben Ayade and had gone through the processes of employment, only for the Special Adviser to the Governor on Payroll, Mr. John Odey, to remove their names from the payroll.
Abuh said that since September, they had not received any alert, noting that when they investigated, it was discovered that their names were removed from the state payroll.
He said: “We went through a painstaking process before we were employed as science teachers and we have our confirmation letters issued to us by the government. We were surprised to discover that the Special Adviser to Ayade on Payroll removed our names and since September, we have not received any alert.”
According to him, the state government had embarked on the recruitment of science teachers before Senator Liyel Imoke left the office and when the present government assumed office, he also embarked on the recruitment of science teachers, wondering why the government had to remove their names from the payroll.
“The state lacked science teachers and that was why both Senator Imoke and Prof. Ayade embarked on the recruitment of science teachers. We went through very rigorous exercises and we were even given our confirmation letters. We have been working for two months now without alert while our colleagues have been paid. We will not stop protesting until we are paid,” Abuh further said.
Also speaking on behalf of the protesting lawyers, Roseline Inameti said: “Not fewer than 40 of us were affected and this is after working for more than three years and after we had gone through the process of employment.
“If the government is looking for a way of fishing out ghost workers, they know what to do and not to come and distort work and daily bread.”
Inameti, who described government’s move as injustice to civil servants, said that they would not stop protesting until government reasons with them.
“I was in Imo State when I had to apply for this job as state counsel. I went through a rigorous exercise before being employed. I cannot imagine somebody saying that I am a ghost worker. We are supposed to be in the court to defend the state but we are here protesting because somebody decided to be mischievous,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the office of State Security Adviser, Mr. Alfred Mboto, who addressed the protesters, promised to take their case to the governor who has been out of the country for the past one week.
He assured them that “you have not been disengaged or sacked. Everything you have raised would be looked into dispassionately.”
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