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Sacked workers of Rivers varsity beg Fubara to reinstate them



Rivers APC chairman accuses Fubara of breaching peace deal

Workers who are victims of a botched employment by the Rivers State Government into the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education have appealed to Governor Siminalayi Fubara to reinstate them back to work.

Hundreds of the men and women besieged the entrance to the Government House Port Harcourt on Monday in protest.

The protesters pleaded with Governor Fubara to consider recalling them to work and paying them the nine months’ salary which they had worked before their sacking.

Speaking, one of the leaders of the protest, Mr. Valentine Kponi Barinedum, noted that they applied for the advertised positions passed through the interview process and were duly engaged and eventually worked for nine months before they were suspended.

Barinedum said the people suffered through the nine months working for the state, begging the governor to consider returning them to work.

HE said: “As Ignatius Ajuru staff, we are here today, we are crying to the governor. If he has said he is the governor of the people, he should make us feel his impact, call us back and pay us. And that is our sole demand.

“We also want our jobs back and our salaries paid. We are here today to plead with you to, please, consider us. We believe that you are going to do the right thing. Please, we are begging you, call us back and pay us our nine months.”

Meanwhile, the State Governor, Fubara, has clarified that the cancellation of the employment process was due to intolerable irregularities, promising that the process would be reviewed and restarted.

Fubara, however, assured the protesters that a new governing council is in place to oversee the process and ensure the elimination of the irregularities that hampered the previous process, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nelson Chukwudi.

The Governor, who was represented by the Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr George Nwaeke, told the protesters that it was not correct that the Fubara-led administration had neglected them or abandoned the process.

Fubara explained that the management of the institution was directed based on their request, to employ only 867 staff with 420 of such persons being academic staff, but regretted that the institution employed 1,900 persons with only 123 being academic staff, which was grossly unacceptable.

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He said: “Now, during the exercise, they brought the list of the number of people that were to be payrolled. When we looked at it, we saw that they have reduced every person as if they were casual workers, which the governor said no, it cannot be so.

“Meanwhile, when we also looked at it, the non-academic staff were now three times the approved number. The academic staff that were brought to us to pay were less than a hundred persons. Prima-facie, the main essence of university is teaching. So, we cannot do without lecturers.”

The Governor urged the protesters to organise themselves properly so that it will be easy to interface with them when the employment process recommences because only qualified persons will be employed within the stipulated number.

Fubara said: “We have a limited number of people that we advertised to employ. But the institution went above that number and took more people. However, it is for you now to form yourselves into an organised group with a leadership, so, we can show you what we have.

“The best-case scenario is that now, we have a governing council in place. I don’t know what their immediate plans are but I know that they need lecturers and non-academic staff. That is where we are going to start.”

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