NO fewer than 254 workers, whose salaries have been stopped since February 2016, have dragged the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Bayelsa State.
The workers, who are teachers of primary and demonstration schools of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, and Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori, have prayed the court to compel the government to pay their salaries.
Governor Wike had reportedly announced in February 2016 that the state government would no longer pay the salaries of primary and secondary schools’ teachers of demonstration schools of RSUST and other designated institutions where pupils and students pay school fees.
The teachers, 102 of RSUST, 97 of IAUE and 55 of KSWP, claimed that since Wike’s order in February, their relevant institutions had refused to pay their salaries.
While the demonstration schools at KSWP are said to have been shut down since Wike’s directive, those of RSUST and IAUE have yet to be closed down but the affected teachers have remained unpaid for five months.
The claimants (unpaid teachers) in suits NICN/YEN/87/2016 for IAUE; NICN/YEN/88/2016 for KSWP and NICN/YEN/89/2016 for RSUST, sued Nyesom Wike (1st defendant), for ordering the stoppage of their salaries.
The claimants, who prayed the court to declare their appointments valid and subsisting, also joined the Attorney-General of Rivers State (2nd defendant) and their various institutions – RSUST, IAUE and KSWP (3rd defendant) in the suit.
In the reliefs sought by the claimants against the defendants, jointly and severally, they prayed the industrial court to declare that their respective employments were valid and subsisting.
They also urged the court to declare that the claimants were entitled to the payments of their respective salaries, allowances and emoluments until they attain their respective ages of retirement of the third defendants.
The claimants also sought declaration that the 1st defendant’s directive stopping the payment of their salaries with effect from the end of February 2016 was unlawful, null and void.
They also sought a declaration that the 1st defendant (Wike) had no right to order the discontinuance of the payment of their salaries with effect from February 2016.