Placard-carrying civil servants on Tuesday protested the alleged removal of their names from the state’s payroll.
The workers comprising over 500 science teachers, 40 lawyers, ICT workers in various ministries, departments and agencies had stormed the gate of the office of the Accountant-General before they moved to the governor’s office some metres away.
Some of the placards they carried read, ‘Look for Ghost workers elsewhere, not among teachers’, ‘Stop punishing us’ ‘Pay us our salaries’, ‘We need our two months salaries’, among others.
One of the protesting teachers, Henry Abuh said “We came here because our names were removed from the payroll. We are about 500 science teachers. Our names were removed from the payroll without our knowledge. We did not commit any crime. We have served this government faithfully.
“Suddenly we didn’t see our alert. We heard rumours that we were going to be sacked two months ago. That was in September. We know that we were not sacked because we have not been issued any sack letter. The problem is that our names have been removed from the payroll. We have not been receiving salaries and our names have been removed from the payroll. And we have been teaching.
“Most of us don’t have the power to go to the class to teach. We pay school fees through this money. Among us here are lawyers and mostly science teachers. What we want the governor to do is reinstate us back. We want the SA Payroll to resign because he did not follow due process. The government is an organised institution. If they want to do anything they should follow due process.
“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 SA to Ayade on payroll removed our names and since September, we have not received (credit) alerts.
“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 a very rigorous exercise and we were even given our confirmation letter. We have been working for two months now without being paid while our colleagues have been paid. We will not stop protesting until we are paid.”
Speaking on behalf of the protesting lawyers, Barr. Roseline Inameti said at least forty lawyers were affected.
“This is after working here for more than three years and after we had gone through the process of employment.”
Inameti said the 40 lawyers would continue to protest what she called injustice done to them, saying, “I was in Imo State when I had to apply for this job as State Counsel. I went through rigorous exercise before being employed. I cannot imagine somebody saying that I’m 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.”
Addressing the protesters, the Permanent Secretary in the office of State Security Adviser, Sir Alfred Mboto sympathised with them and promised to take their case to the governor.