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Let Us Taste Your Gov’t Prosperity, Illegally Sacked Teachers Appeal To Gov Diri . . . Industrial Court Adjourns Case To October

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by Oyagiri Chime-emele

Some teachers who were said to have been wrongfully sacked, have appealed to the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri to let them have a taste of prosperity by reassorbing them into the state civil service.

An affected teacher and Garnishee creditor, Vianana Stephen, who made the appeal on Thursday, July 21st, after the sitting of the National Industrial Court, Yenagoa, added that two judgements have have been given in their favour.

According to him, several letters of appeal have been written to the government and the supervising education Board but have not yielded the desired results.

He expressed surprised that the state government has refused to obey court judgements in a democratic dispensation.

Mr Vianana described their suspension from work as an administrative error, stressing that the issue could be resolved amicably by recalling them on their merits.

His words: “More than ninety (90) teachers were affected that filed the suit in court. By September 2019, the first set of judgement was entered in Yenagoa, last year, February precisely, second set of judgement was entered in Port Harcourt, all in our favour.

“Ironically, several letters of notice have been written to government, through the supervising education Board, which is the Bayelsa Basic Education Board and it is appalling that to this day, the government has not done anything to obey the court order.

“In our quest to see how to get what is due us, we consulted our counsel and decided to come for a Garnishee of requisite government banks. This is where we are today. A partial Garnishee order has been given to us last May, 2022.

He appealed that Senator Douye Diri having benefitted immensely from the impartiality of the court, should do well to obey court orders.

“This is a government that came into power through the courts, and now the court in its wisdom and magnanimity has decided decided that citizens of Bayelsa be recalled, I think, he that comes for equity must come with a clean hand.

“They have enjoyed the benefit of equity, so, I would not see any reason why they would not want to do the same to fellow Bayelsans by recalling us and paying us our backlog of salaries.

“We are Bayelsans. This is a prosperity government, let us join in the prosperity by recalling us,” he appealed.

Another sacked teacher and Garnishee creditor, Rachael Sunday, said their sack has caused much hardship on those affected, adding that homes have been broken, with some persons running into huge debt, children pulled out of school.

She cried to the government to soften their hard stand and do the needful by obeying court orders.

To Timila Bunu, the height of government’s insensitivity to their plight was a rumoured propaganda that the wrongfully sacked teachers have been recalled.

Bunu, who is also a Garnishee creditor and sacked teacher hinted that the Nigerian Union of Teacher (NUT) Exco were informed by the government that all affected teachers have been recalled.

The Garnishee counsel, Barrister Martins Nwagbara said; “Today, the court ordered that the banks which the judgement creditors are planning to Garnishee should produce a statement of account.

“One of the bank of the debt Garnishee has obeyed, but the second judgement debtor, which is the Bayelsa State Education Board (SUBEB) brought an application for stay of proceedings, which the judgement creditors have already responded to.

“Ordinarily, we have gone beyond this stage, because the court has dealt with all these delays and attempts to frustrate the judgement creditors which are the teachers.

When asked if there is hope for his clients looking at the long time the trial has taken, the Garnishee counsel said: “There is no defense for the Garnishee debtor. It is like a drowning man that is only looking for what to hold on. What they are doing is a delay strategy, looking for a way to tie up this matter in the appeal”

Also, the second judgement (Bayelsa State Basic Education Board (SUBEB)) counsel debtor, Barr. Eric Deri said; “We are on the Garnishee stage now. For today, there are applications that are pending, so the matter has been adjourned to October 13th, 2022.

“You know how litigation is. The wheel is slow but it grounds effectively. I believe that the best practicable way is for the parties to resolve the matter amicably.

It would be recalled that the state government through SUBEB, sacked, recalled and later suspended more than four hundred (400) teachers during the last administration of Gov. Seriake Dickson.

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