Bayelsa fired teachers beg Diri to be reinstated
July 24 (THEWILL) – More than 350 secondary school teachers who were illegally fired in Bayelsa State by former Governor, Seriake Dickson in 2012 have shouted at Governor Douye Diri to obey the National Tribunal’s ruling. Labor, which ordered their immediate reinstatement and payment of their back wages.
It should be recalled that Dickson, upon taking office in 2012, embarked on a biometric verification exercise of public servants, which led to the firing, demotion and suspension of many state officials from Bayelsa, especially those employed by his predecessor, Chief Timipre Sylva. .
Not satisfied with their sacking, the aggrieved teachers went to the National Labor Court sitting in Yenagoa and prayed the court to order the state government to reinstate them, a prayer which the court compelled to and ruled that the teachers had been unlawfully dismissed and therefore ordered the state government to reinstate them and pay them all their benefits.
Another group of aggrieved teachers approached the Port Harcourt branch of the tribunal seeking redress, which the tribunal also ruled in their favor by ordering that they be reinstated and paid their back wages.
Despite obtaining a double judgment from the court, the teachers concerned had continued to wait in vain to be reinstated in the state civil service.
After exploring every avenue available to them to no avail, the frustrated teachers had no choice but to go to court again, seeking a garnishment order to compel the commercial banks used by the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to pay the salaries of civil servants to release the funds due to the litigants, the court granted their request. But the court order has yet to be implemented by the state government.
During a hearing at the Yenagoa Labor Court on Thursday where the court had ordered banks to produce account statements for teachers’ payments, the lawyer for SUBEB, which represents the state government in the case, filed a new request for a stay of proceedings.
Therefore, the Presiding Judge, Judge Bashar A. Akali, adjourned the matter to October 13, 2022 for the hearing of the application.
Speaking to reporters after the adjournment, attorney for the judgment creditors (the teachers), Barr. Martin Nwabali, said: “Today the court ordered the banks, which the judgment creditors intend to seize, to produce the statement and collection of accounts, which one of the banks has produced, which is the third seized third party, but the second judgment creditor, which is SUBEB, filed a request for a stay of proceedings, to which the judgment creditors had already responded.
“But before that, the court had already dealt with all these questions of stays and delays in an attempt to frustrate the judgment creditors who are the teachers. The court, in its wisdom, ordered that on the next adjourned date, the two parties exchange their procedures so that the court can determine on the seized third party a huge sum of money due to the teachers,” he said. .
Nwabali stressed that there was no defense from the judgment debtors, noting that what they were doing was a strategy of delay aimed at blocking the case on appeal, arguing that there was no no appeal for the court to stay the proceedings other than what he did. described as a mere notice of appeal on which the court had previously rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.
SUBEB’s lawyer, Derry Eric, said the only way to end the case was for the two parties to get together and resolve the issues amicably, adding: “Both parties have met and I think that the government is listening.”
One of the victims, Mr. Steven Vianana, described their ordeal as an administrative error on the part of the state government.
He called on Governor Diri, whom he described as a beneficiary of the rule of law, to examine their plight and do what is necessary.
“We have had two labor court judgments in Yenagoa and Port Harcourt and all are in our favour. Ironically, several notice letters have been written to the government through SUBEB, but it is appalling that to date the government has done nothing to obey the court order,” he said. declared.
Vianana explained that when the verification exercise was carried out, they were all verified and paid four months of salary arrears before the appointment of Dr Walton Liverpool as Executive Secretary of SUBEB, who then asked them to apply. again for their posts, which they did only to learn that their appointments had been suspended.
Another victim, Sunday Rachael, who spoke emotionally with tears streaming profusely down her cheek, said: “Are we not Bayelsans? Why this suffering? We ask the governor to consider us as his own brothers, sisters and children. We are suffering. Even in the school system, we were told that there were not enough teachers. So why are they trying to frustrate us all these years? Our children can no longer go to school. Many marriages have broken down. We implore the government to listen to us.