Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
Staff of the Edo State College of Education, Ekiadolor, yesterday protested unpaid 11 months salaries and pension.
The workers, who registered their protest before the state Head of Service (HoS), Mr. Anthony Okungbowa, when he visited the institution, lamented that their families have been made to suffer untold hardship especially at this period of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
The workers, while berating the state government for playing politics with their lives, said without further delay, the government should defray their 11 months outstanding salaries.
Chairman of the College of Education Academy Staff Union (COEASU), Fred Omonuwa, while addressing the HoS and his entourage on behalf of other unions of the institutions, noted that the state government has stopped the payment of subvention to the institution, and urged it to commence 100 percent payment of subvention to the college.
According to him, “It is pertinent to note that the Edo State Government is used to bringing inadequate subvention to the college owing to the 65/35 percent counterpart salary payment agreement between the government and college management.
“It is even now more worrisome that the state governor has gone ahead to stop the inadequate subvention to the college. Some of the implications of this new development and insensitivity of the state government are that: ‘The staff as well as the pensioners and their families have been made to suffer untold hardship especially at this period of the ravaging coronavirus disease.
“Staff of the college and pensioners are currently being owed 11 months salaries with its attendant effect especially the inability to access medical facilities due to lack of funds.
“The economic and social activities of the host communities are completely dead.
We and our families deserve to live. Non-payment of salaries is certainly not a new way of doing things.
“Whereas the government has received several monies through the Paris Club refund, bail-out funds from the federal government and funds from different organisations as COVID-19 palliatives, it has continually refused to pay us our salaries, pension and gratuities.”
Addressing the workers, the HoS, told them that the government has promised to release one month subvention to the institution.
This, the college staffers rejected, saying the one month subvention would not be enough to offset the 11 months’ salary arrears.