An industrial unrest is looming in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as staff of the Local Education Authority (LEA) who claim not to have been paid for close to ten months are threatening to embark on mass protests.
City News learnt that the staff, numbering about 600, were recruited by the council’s Education Secretary (ES), Solomon Ayuba Dagami, late last year and have since not been paid.
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One of the staff, who gave his name as John, said they were recruited and posted to schools and departments by the LEA since late last year but that up till now they had not been paid.
John, who noted that some of his colleagues were dead, said the hardship they were facing was unbearable.
He said the staff who had visited the FCT Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to lodge their complaint were mobilising to begin mass protests if their situation was not given the desired attention.
John further told City News that effort to get the council’s Chairman, John Gabaya, to reason with them and pay them had yielded no result.
Another staff, Janet, said, “Both the ES and the chairman seem not concerned about our plight. Some of us have died and some are bedridden, but these people are not just concerned.’’
Our City News Editor reliably gathered that there is a cold war between the chairman and the ES due to political differences because the chairman belongs to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), while the ES is believed to be sympathetic to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This, City News further learnt, has been the main reason why the chairman has failed to release money for the payment, claiming he is not aware of the recruitment process.
An elder in Bwari, Mr Mathew Gaba, pleaded with the two leaders to reconcile their differences in the interest of the staff and their dependants.
He called on the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, to quickly intervene to check breakdown of order that the proposed protest might cause.
He also called on the affected staff to be more patience and give room for more dialogue on the issue.
When contacted on the issue, the Chairman, Mr Gabaya, insisted he was not aware of the recruitment and therefore could not be forced to pay them.
Over the telephone, Mr Gabaya told City News that, “If they like let them take me to Buhari, let them remove me from the chairmanship. I don’t care because I did not give them the employment.’’
Meanwhile, the ES, Mr Dagami, told City News that a committee had been set up on the matter and that the report of the committee would help in resolving the issue.