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Pay Us Our Salaries Now or Else – Bayelsa’s Workers Tell Dickson

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Different categories of Bayelsa State workers yesterday protested their unpaid salaries in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The first group comprised teachers under the aegis of the Association of Senior Secondary School Teachers (ASSST).

They displayed placards with various inscriptions, such as “Governor, why do you hate teachers?” and “Governor, remove chairman.”

The protesters took their protest to the Post-Primary School Education Board, demanding to see the board’s chairman.

Bayelsa State workers have been undergoing hardship, following the inability of the government to pay their backlog of salaries.

Workers in the only state-owned Niger Delta University (NDU), including lecturers, shut down the institution for over four months over unpaid salaries.

The teachers, who chanted solidarity songs, said they had not been paid for over seven months.

They described the Seriake Dickson administration as insensitive.

One of the teachers, who identified himself simply as Jacob, said they were angry at the way the governor and his aides were handling their matter.

He said: “We are out to register our displeasure over the manner the governor is administering his responsibilities. The education system has been paralysed from primary school to tertiary institution. This should not be the behaviour of a man who wants the success of the state.”

The protest leader Dan Tarila said the teachers were disappointed by the way the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, and the chairman of the board handled the salary crisis.

He said: “The Commissioner for Information and the chairman of post primary school board are insincere. The commissioner has failed us. He negotiated for Niger Delta University (NDU) and failed. He negotiated for every sector and failed. He has been promising teachers, but he failed us.”

The angry teachers were later dismissed by their leader, following a promise that the government would pay them today.

But they vowed to continue the demonstration, if the government failed to fulfil its promise.

Also, workers of Yenagoa Local Government Area yesterday stormed the Ministry of Local Government, demanding the payment of their salaries.

The workers, who were owed over eight months, sought audience with the Commissioner for Local Government, Agatha Goma, but were told that the she was not in her office.

But having sighted the commissioner in her office, the angry workers were said to have started banging the gates and doors to her office.

The commissioner’s attempts to call security operatives further infatuated the workers, who abused her.

But the arrival of the caretaker committee chairmen of Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa and Ogbia local government areas saved the situation.

Some representatives of the workers later met with the commissioner and the chairmen, who told them that their share of the bailout money was still in the bank.

The workers gave the government till today to pay them or face their wrath.

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