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Used and dumped

Posted by By JOE EFFIONG, Uyo on 2007/01/22 | Views: 516 |

Used and dumped


When Akwa Ibom State was created out of Cross River State in September, 1987, Cross River State apparently in short supply of workers, especially teachers whose bulk was from the present Akwa Ibom State, decided to retain the service of some teachers.

•Cross River fires teachers from Akwa Ibom State after using them to stabilize its system

When Akwa Ibom State was created out of Cross River State in September, 1987, Cross River State apparently in short supply of workers, especially teachers whose bulk was from the present Akwa Ibom State, decided to retain the service of some teachers.

17 years after, precisely in January 2006, when it might have recovered from the workers’ shortfall, Cross River has wielded the big stick, disengaging all non-indigene teachers. About 200 of such persons are from Akwa Ibom.

A letter from the chairman of Cross River State Primary Education Board, addressed to his counterpart in Akwa Ibom on February 2006, reads: “I am directed to inform you that following the state government’s directives that all non-indigenes in the payroll of the state primary education board, Calabar should be transferred to their states of origin, the board has approved the release of the above teacher (Essien J. Akpan) who is an indigene of your state on inter-state transfer accordingly.

“The approval takes effect from the January 31, 2006. The following documents are attached with the release letter for your necessary action, please: last pay certificate, record of service and last promotion letter”.

If Bassey and the rest had expected to run back to their home state to sing hallelujah, they had since found out that they are in the cold. Ever since they were sent packing, the affected teachers have been running from pillar to post looking for succour. Yet, relief seems to be still far.
They have even taken their plight to Public Complaints Commission in Cross River State, whose commissioner decided to write to Gov. Victor Attah calling his attention to the desperation of the affected teacehrs.

The letter, written on October 5, 2006 and entitled Transfer of Non-indigene Primary School Teachers and Non-Teaching Staff, read: “This commission knows you to be like father of all for which reason you are aspiring for the position of becoming the father of the nation.

“The people involved in the subject matter under consideration are indigenes of Akwa Ibom State. If your head of service is basing the logic of not helping the people on the former relationship of Cross River State with Akwa Ibom State, why are the displaced private persons from the Bakassi Peninsula given such help by various state governments whose indigenes were affected by the take over of the Peninsula?

“All other state governments involved in re-absorbing non-indigenes of Cross River State are working out modalities for taking over the transferred teachers after the exercise in Cross River State. Why is only Akwa Ibom State head of service giving excuses even when the facts are clear?

“Twenty teachers appointed before the creation of Akwa Ibom State need to be assisted by our state to have their terminal benefits paid by the Cross River State government. One hundred and five teachers appointed by Cross River State government after the creation of Akwa Ibom State were assisted to starve, steal or be area men or women who may smear the name of your state. Let this fact be, at least, appreciated. What is needed now is to help them to be re-absorbed into your teaching service. The Cross River State government would still, in future, pay the part of their retirement benefits at the appropriate time for service so far rendered, in line with civil service rules,” the commission wrote to Attah.

Apparently seeing no sign of positive change, the affected teachers, led by Aniefiok Inyang as the chairman of the Akwa Ibom Teaching and Non-teaching Staff Forum, went to the speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on November 14, 2006 to plead with the House. They said that since February 2006 when they were forcefully sent back to Akwa Ibom on the grounds of being non-natives of Cross River State, all their efforts to get the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) absorb them had yielded no fruits despite the facts that files containing all their particulars had since been sent to the body.

“We have made several efforts right from Akwa Ibom leaders and community resident in Cross River State to come to our aid, but all efforts proved abortive,” they said.
They claimed that they had written to Gov. Attah, State Commissioner of Education, SUBEB chairman, Akwa Ibom NUT, the state House of Assembly, State Assembly Committee on Education, director of SSS in the state, and director, Public Complaints Commission, Uyo.

“Sir, you can imagine family men and women with children, grand children and relatives displaced for over 11 months now without salaries. Our property have been thrown out by landlords. Our children are no more in school, since December due to lack of money to pay their school fees.
“Sir, already there are corpses lying for burial. We were five states affected by this exercise, but to our greatest shock and surprise, the other four states have listened to the plight of their children and re-deployed them, ” he said.

Having waited for two months and heard nothing, the group, on January 16, 2007, marched back to the gate of the House of Assembly on a placard-carrying peaceful protest. Some of the placards read: We and our families are starving; We are teachers who were teaching in Cross River State ; We were transferred to our state since January 31, 2006; We are Akwa Ibomites, please absorb us; Our files and records have been sent to SUBEB, Uyo, Our landlords and landladies have taken us to courts; et cetera.

Our efforts to speak with head of service, Mr. Sunny Akpadia was not successful as he was not in office when The Sun correspondent called. However, Daily Sun learnt that the House had mandated its committee on education to look into the matter. The chairman of the committee, Mr. S bnaturday Idung, told The Sun that the House just received “their letter before we went on Christmas break. When we resume fully, I believe the clerk will include it in the order paper for discussion.”
A source in SUBEB also said: “I’m sure the state government is doing everything possible to solve the problem once and for all.”

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown