Abia State: Group seeks reinstatement of demoted Headmistress

… Mrs. Maryleen Ezichi was demoted for asking for her 6 months salary arrears

After all the lies by Okezie Ikpeazu, his wife and the Education Commissioner…



*RE: Illegal demotion of Mrs. Ezichi Maryleen, Headmistress of Amaetiti Primary School, Asaga Ohafia by the Abia State Government*

The Young Leaders Association of Nigeria, also known as Nigerian Youths Forum, Abia State Chapter condemns in strong terms, the continuous victimization of the primary school headmistress whose only offence was to plead for her over five months unpaid salaries by the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu led administration. Mrs. Maryleen Ezichi was the Headmistress of Amaetiti Primary School, Asaga Ohafia until last month, March, when she was allegedly whisked away from her place of work to Umuahia, the state capital and thereafter handed to her, a transfer letter to another primary school in Ukwa-East Local Government Area to resume as a classroom teacher.

The news which was reported first by Punch Newspaper and yet to be refuted by the Abia state government indicate that the innocent woman’s ordeal came as a result of her “embarrassing” the wife of the governor Nkechi Ikpeazu who was in the school to kick-off her one free meal programme for primary school pupils. The ’embarrassment’ was that Mrs. Maryleen Ezichi, a mother, pleaded with Nkechi Ikpeazu, a fellow mother, to intercede on behalf of the teachers to the state government for their over five months unpaid salaries to enable them buy foods for their children, pay house rents, take care of the medical need of their wards, pay debts, and other needs. But surprisingly, instead of taking pity on these starving teachers who are putting in their best to groom the primary school pupils for a greater society, the governor’s wife connived with her husband to demote the woman and transfer her to a remote area, about 140 kilometers away, with a stern instruction to resume immediately. This is in contrast to the fact that allocations from FG to the state have not dropped. We also recall that the state received  over 8bn naira in the last two months being part of the Paris Club funds from Federal Government. Yet, basic salaries are owed! This is the height of injustice and inhumanity to humanity. No other type of humiliation can be worse than this.

What baffles us is that the Abia State Government and its officials who are supposed to tell Abia people who elected them the truth of the matter, are busy denying being aware of the event which has been in the public domain for over a week now. We begin to wonder if the present government is turning Abia into a circus. Regrettably, another official of the government, Uche Olehi, who is a Personal Assistant to the Governor on Media was quoted to have said in an interview with an online medium that the headmistress was not redeployed because she complained of unpaid salaries, but because she “was running a beer parlour on the premises of the school”. We have tried so hard to find out that this does not even have iota of truth in it. How will somebody in her right senses run a beer parlour in a primary school? Who will patronize her? The primary school pupils or the unpaid teachers? Or even the farming households in Asaga?  This kind of tales can only come when the government is grasping for grounds to cover up its unfairness and injustice to the people it is meant to protect and advance their course.

We are also bewildered by the actions of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Abia State chapters. They have maintained a dead silence over the matter. The NUT, Abia State Chapter Chairman who spoke to a news medium also claimed ignorance of the incident, taking the same stance of the government and using the same language of government officials. Their silence is not only suspect but runs foul of their slogan that ‘injury to one is injury to all’.  We think that they are acting a script given to them by the state government. We fear that the umbrella bodies which are supposed to speak and protect the interests of their members including Mrs. Maryleen Ezichi may have been compromised.

The Young Leaders Association of Nigeria, Abia State Chapter therefore condemns this undue maltreatment of this worthy Abia citizen by the government. We demand that the governor Okezie Ikpeazu led government should not only reinstate Mrs. Maryleen Ezichi but also pay all the teachers’ their entitlements . A worker deserves his or her full wage according to a Bible injunction and we know the governor is a practising christian.  She should be praised for being brave and standing up for her right. We also call on other well meaning civil society and human rights groups and other well meaning Nigerians to persuade the Abia State Government to do the right thing. The government should stop insulting our parents, they should stop intimidating and molesting our parents. We do not understand why the government has decided to play hide and seek games with the state’s funds while those who work for the upliftment of the state go to bed hungry and their children die of untreated illnesses.

Duke Imandu
Press Secretary, Young Leaders Association of Nigeria, Abia State Chapter

Engr. Uchechi Adimoha
State Rep

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