Abia teachers lament nonpayment of salaries

Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji

The teachers say they received their December salaries in February.

Teachers in Abia State are lamenting the irregular and haphazard payment of their salaries by the Abia State Government.

The teachers have accused the state of paying their salaries once in 3 months or longer.

All the teachers who spoke to Premium Times elected to do so anonymously.

According one primary school teacher, the last time she received a salary was on February 14 when she was paid her December salary.

“Whenever they owe us for three months, on the fourth month they will pay one month’s salary to prevent us from going on strike,” the teacher said.

Another teacher supported what her colleague had said, adding, “Even the long time approved minimum wage has accumulated as we are yet to receive the salaries from before the approval,” she lamented.

Secondary school teachers also made similar complaints. A secondary school teacher who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said, “Abia State teachers have been neglected. Issues concerning salaries, leave allowances are not mentioned anymore.”

“The last time I was paid was in February, that was when I was paid my November salary and since then we’ve been waiting for our December salary,” the teacher said.

The teachers also said that when they are promoted, their new salaries are usually not implemented.

Government denies

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State Governor, Ugo Emezue, told PREMIUM TIMES that the teachers’ claims were false. He insisted that the February salaries were paid last week.

Mr. Emezue explained that the payment system in the state was being overhauled and switched to a biometric system. He added that in the course of the switch, a total of 1, 500 ghost workers from some local governments were identified.

Mr. Emezue, after requesting for the name of the specific schools involved, promised to verify the teachers’ complaints. He, however, attributed the possible cause of the payment backlog to the inability of some teachers to adapt to the new payment system.

“Such cases, if any at all, are isolated but I promise you I’ll verify these claims. That’s my job,” he said.

On the issue of new salary implementation, Mr. Emezue said the Local Government Education Authority handles that and he was assured that whoever merits promotion gets promoted with swift implementation.

“Teachers yet to upgrade their qualifications are given an opportunity by the state to do so through an in-house training. It does take some time to get them cleared after the training but once that is done, their new salaries are implemented,” he said.

He claimed the state had commenced the payment of the minimum wage, saying “We are paying even more than what was approved. We pay N20, 100 and we’ve paid all workers up to date.”

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