Angry teachers protest against removal of names on payroll
No fewer than 500 science teachers who were allegedly removed from Cross River State civil service payroll yesterday returned with their mats and pillows in protest against the government.
The angry protesters blocked the entrance to the governor’s office in Calabar.
The workers came with mats, wrappers, and pillows, demanding that the state’s civil service commission return their names to the payroll.
They claimed some of them have been given quit notice by their landlords over non-payment of their rents.
A woman who spoke on condition of anonymity noted that her colleague lost two of her children who suffered from burns because she could not pay their hospital bills while another was sick and died of malaria last week.
She lamented, “we don’t know why the governor, who promised that no family would go to bed hungry is now treating workers like this. We have not been paid for two months and they said our names have been removed from the payroll, as a result, this, a lot of us have gone through so many tragedies.
“For example, we just lost a colleague who was buried last week because of non-payment of salary. He didn’t have money to go to the hospital, so he remained there at home and died of malaria and typhoid. Another colleague lost two kids, they had domestic fire accident, and she took them to the hospital and could not pay the bill that was how she lost them. It is quite annoying.
“A lot of us came from very far distance. We have pregnant ones amongst us, our house rents have expired.” She lamented.
Addressing newsmen at the entrance of the gate, the spokesperson of the teachers, Mr. Kenneth Bisong said, “We are among the best brains as far as Science teaching is concerned in Cross River. Our recruitment in 2015 was done by Educom, an Indian firm with a proven record for standards and excellence.
“Initially we didn’t know what has happened until our colleagues started getting paid and our people were not. We went to relevant offices to find out what happened, we discovered that our names have been removed from the payroll by the government.
“Our names were removed from the payroll in September, we started work since 2015. We are about 500 teachers affected, and it could be more.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita said it was just an audit exercise by the commission and that no one was sacked.
“Nobody has been sacked, it is just an audit, a lot of people who joined the civil service in 2015 did so through the back door. There is no cause for alarm, no one has been sacked.
“The governor is doing a cleansing of the state payroll in other to delete ghost workers. Nobody has sacked them. Government has realised that because approval was given for employment in some areas, the government officials saddled with the responsibility resorted to over-employment.
“In some cases where 200 persons were approved for employment, the people saddled with the responsibility recruited 700 staff. So, nobody has been sacked.” He explained.
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