About 30 secondary school teachers from the Bakassi peninsula in Ndian Division of the Southwest Region petitioning against unpaid salaries and allowances for a period of one to two years, marched peacefully, to the Regional Delegation of Secondary Education and Southwest Governor’s office on Thursday June 30, 2016, in search of solutions to their current plight.
The teachers have been in Buea for close to two weeks now and say they are bent on leaving only after what is owed them has been paid. Payment of the contentious money started since last year that is, 2014/2015 academic year. Some teachers were paid while others were not.
“We have come to the regional delegation because we were made to understand that, our salaries and allowances have been sent to the regional delegation pending payment by the end of this month, and that the salaries will be paid alongside the regular salaries of civil servants, but since we came here, it’s almost two weeks now we have not had any head way as per the salaries’’, explained one of the distressed teachers.
The teachers who faced the same challenge last year are afraid to think that their salaries will always be paid when they march to the regional delegate’s office.
“Each time we come to the regional delegation, we meet the sub director and the regional delegate, and what they keep telling us is that, it is in process.
Today, they are telling us the governor is not around to sign certain decisions and again, a certain key, from Yaounde has not been sent to prove that we really deserve that amount of money. We have also been made to understand today that the key has been sent but the governor is not around to sign that decision’’.
Among these teachers are regular civil servants whose allowances have not been paid for a year now and temporary workers whose allowances and salaries have not been paid for the second year now.
“We have come to the regional delegate to plead that if he has some money he can lend us so that when the money they are expecting is ready we will then pay him back but he said he has no money, so we intend to stay in Buea until when the money is ready’’.
These teachers complained that, they face a lot of difficulties in Bakassi without regular salaries.
“In an area like Bakassi, we are faced with a lot of difficulties. For instance to have food, we have to go to Mundemba or Kumba. The most readily available foodstuff is garri and they refuse to sell to us because they know that we do not have money.
In Nigeria a cup of garri is FCFA 400, meanwhile for us it is FCFA 50. They prefer to carry everything to Nigeria because we do not have money, and then we are now going for months without salaries’’ teachers explained.
They continued that, there is also the need for portable water and good roads. ‘’the roads are terrible; we pay FCFA 10.000 from Mundemba to Bakassi on a bike. It is terrible, in Bakassi.”