by Segun Odeleye
It’s a wonder that minister of education, Nyesom Wike, has been able to pursue his governorship agenda in Rivers state in full stride despite all the issues that he has to contend with on a daily basis as a cabinet minister.
Apart from the ASUU strike which is now less than a week into its fifth month, workers in the education ministry under the banner of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), are upset with the minister and protesting over their unpaid promotion arrears.
On Tuesday morning, the workers, led by the Secretary, Federal Capital Territory ASCSN, Comrade Isaac Ojemhenke, staged a protest at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
They called for the sack of the minister and immediate redeployment of the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr MacJohn Nwaobiala, for fraudulently diverting the N825 million meant for the payment of their promotion arrears between 2011 and 2010 which had been released to them since December 2012 but which the two men “have been telling lies” that it has not been released by the FG.
The workers claimed that they were aware that the money had already been released in two installments by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to the ministry for payment of the workers’ arrears since December 2012.
There was some drama as the workers stopped the minister as soon as he alighted from his vehicle to enter his office at around 8.15am. The placard carrying members who sang solidarity songs, immediately confronted the minister and a shouting match ensued between Ojemhenke and Wike.
Ojemhenke accused the minister of being incompetent and telling lies.
Afterwards, Ojemhenke said that “in view of the foregoing, including the fact that nothing concrete has happened at the close of work on Monday, November 25, we are by this letter notifying the minister of education of our resolve to commence four days warning strike with effect from Tuesday, November 26, in the federal ministry of education including the headquarters of the ministry, the inspectorate departments and the 104 federal unity colleges to press home our demands.”