Senator Hope Uzodinma, the Imo State Governor, has threatened to arrest any protesting teacher, worker or pensioner in the state while insisting that his government is owing no one.
Uzodinma said those protesting against the directive of the government were not only ghost workers but rented protesters by enemies of the government to misinform the public.
Speaking through Declan Emelumba, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Uzodinma further accused the protesting teachers of constituting nuisance in the state and misinforming the public, warning those who engage in that, to desist or have themselves to blame.
Primary and secondary school teachers in the state on Thursday took to the streets of Owerri, the state capital, demanding for their 12 months unpaid salary arrears.
The protesters numbering over 300 stormed the government house, Owerri with their employment details and placards, painting the government in “a bad light”.
Mrs. Grace Ajaelu, one of the protesting teachers who spoke to journalists, said she had spent 29 years in service, lamenting that she had not received salary since Governor Hope Uzodinma came on board.
“I was employed and started teaching in 1992, but since the tenure of Senator Hope Uzodinma, I have not received a dime. The last salary I got was in February 2020.
“This is complete 12 months now, no salary. Why would the Governor tag us ‘ghost workers’ after 29 years of active service? This is the height of insensitivity and callousness.
“I’m getting ready for my retirement. I have no other source of livelihood as a widow. How will I take care of myself and family? Hunger is ravaging us in the house. This is the means from which I pay my family bills. Now the government has refused to pay me and called me a ghost worker. God, why?
“I appeal to the Governor to temper justice with mercy and pay us our one-year salary arrears. We are dying gradually.”
Another teacher from Mbaitoli LGA who gave her name as Juliet Akalazu said that the Governor was suffocating them to death. She disclosed that she had spent eight years in active service.
“Since March last year, I have not received any kobo as salary. This government is wicked and insensitive,” she added.
Meanwhile, the government through Emelumba had described the protesting teachers as ghost workers mixed with hired crowd by enemies of the government to misinform the public.
Emelumba said this when he spoke to some journalists in response to the protest.