SECONDARY school teachers in Bayelsa State, yesterday, took to the streets of Yenagoa, the state capital, to demand payment of four months’ salary arrears.

The aggrieved teachers, who came out in their numbers as early as 8a.m.,  barricaded Safety Road, where most government offices are located, causing traffic gridlock. They carried placards with various  inscriptions, such as: “Please pay us our salaries,” “We are now beggars,” “We are dying,” “our children are out of school,” among others. It took the intervention of men of Bayelsa State Police Command for the teachers to open the road to traffic.

Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASUSS, Oyinemia Ebredeni, said that their protest was to express their grievances to the government over the  delay in the payment of their salaries, lamenting that they were being owed four and a half months. “This is like a warning protest. If the state government reneges on its promise to pay us, we will have no other option than to take to the streets again and barricade the Government House.

We will continue the demonstrations until all the outstanding salaries are paid,” he said. Reacting, Bayelsa Commissioner for Education, Mr Markson Fefeha, said there was no basis for the protest,  as they were not the only ones owed in the state, adding that cheques for one month salary were ready.