• Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson
The aggrieved teachers had gathered at the Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Memorial Centre in Yenagoa to receive their salaries earlier promised them by the governor.
But trouble was said to have begun when they (teachers) noticed that the government was only willing to pay 50 per cent of their May salaries.
The teachers, who were not pleased with the situation, rejected the offer, stormed out of the centre and marched the streets in protest.
It was learnt that when the protesting teachers met the governor in the morning while jogging, he reportedly told them to manage what was available, promising to pay them January salary at the end of June.
It was also learnt that the teachers were reportedly angry because they were not paid in January when civil servants in some ministries last received their full month salaries.
One of the teachers, who did not want his name mentioned, said the teachers had expected the governor to pay them January salary in full first before negotiating half payment for May.
He said, “We got a message this morning that we should come here that they wanted to pay us our salary. The annoyance is that the governor paid civil servants January salary but he did not pay us and now he wanted to pay half salary for May instead of paying us January salary.
“January, we have not been paid, February we are not paid, March, April have not been paid and now May you want to pay half . We are now in June. We were there in the Government House.
“We assembled in front of the Government House and the governor was passing after he went for jogging. He called the leader of our group and told him to tell us to be patient and accept the half salary for May and that at the end of this month he would pay January salary.”
He alleged that the state National Union of Teachers was doing the bidding of the government, saying the leader of the union is the governor’s kinsman.
“What we are saying is that we cannot accept half salary for May without our January salary being paid to us. The issue of the January salary should be addressed,” he stated.
However, it was learnt that the teachers sent a delegation to the office of the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Markson Fefegha, to discuss the issue.
The delegation was said to have rejected the half salary and asked the government to keep the money in teachers’ account pending when it would be complete.
But a statement from the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the teachers under the auspices of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, commended the government for the payment of 50 per cent salary to workers in the state.
“The teachers also backed the ongoing staff verification exercise. They expressed confidence that the verification will flush out ghost workers from the pay roll,” It said.
The statement further promised the teachers that the governor had approved the payment of their January salary.
“According to the Commissioner, the payment of the January salary is meant to bring the teachers at par with other workers in the state,” the statement said.