By Abasiofiok Inyang
The 2020 promotion carried out by the Akwa Ibom State Government for teachers in public secondary schools in the State has brought pains to the affected teachers rather than joy. No thanks to the ongoing extortion perpetrated by some handlers of the promotion.
It was authoritatively gathered that Governor Udom Emmanuel had recently approved 2020 promotion for secondary school teachers in the state with effective date from 1st January, 2020 but financial benefits to commence on June 26, 2020, leaving a period of two years and six months without enjoying the said promotion benefits.
It was further gathered that despite the period lost without getting the said promotion benefits even as some of the teachers who were promoted within the period have retired from service, a twist of extortion has befallen those who are fortunate to still be in the service.
This is as a result of the actions of some Directors at the Local Education Committee (LEC). A case in point is that of Abak Local Government Area where promoted teachers are forced to pay two thousand naira (N2,000) each before the promotion salary is implemented. The same case is said to be in some other local government areas.
As if that is not enough, every teacher correspondence between the LEC and Uyo as regards the said promotion, is charged per person.
Adding to this extortion, is the fact that the State Secondary Education Board (SSEB) charges each teacher between N500 – N1,000 for the printing of the promotion letter.
The charge, which is carried out at the Open Registry, is said to be for the paper used in printing the promotion letter. And failure to pay the money means that one is not ready to get his or her promotion letter.
Some of the teachers who spoke in confidence with our reporter, expressed displeasure over the extortion, even as they are yet to collect the new promotion salary.
He said, “since the State Government announced the 2020 teachers promotion with effective date of 1st January, 2020 but with financial benefits to commence from June 16, 2022, it has been from one payment to the other, even when we are yet to collect the new promotion salary. Imagine paying for the printing of the promotion letter which is done at the Open Registry of State Secondary Education Board, SSEB, to paying another money (N2,000) at the LEC for the implementation of the promotion salary. This is serious extortion”.
He called on the State Government the Ministry of Education to intervene and further exploitation and extortion.
Another teacher who is equally a victim of the said extortion, told our Reporter that many Directors at LEC are cashing on the said promotion benefits to exploit them. She said despite the fact that government provides imprest to run the Committee, they are still being charged unnecessarily and also called on the state government to come to their aid.
All efforts to reach out to the LEC in Abak and SSEB proved abortive.