By Nwafor Okafor
Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, His Grace, Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba at the weekend commissioned Law faculty building of Paul University, Awka, Anambra State.
This came as staff members of the University used the occasion to protest nonpayment of their salaries for about 28 months.
The law building, named after Archbishop of Niger Province, His Grace Rt Rev. Alexander Ibezim was inaugurated by the Primate and Archbishop of Enugu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma and other bishops from various dioceses across the country.
The Primate had also dedicated Renaissance Modern Polytechnic Mbaukwu and Millennium college of Nursing Sciences, Awka.
The protesters who carried placards with various inscriptions including, “Working without payment is unscriptural”, “starvation is the worst form of attack, pay your staff or shutdown”, “Primate have mercy on us”, said the debts ranged between 14 to 28months.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, acting ICT Head, Chidi Gabriel, said while the Adjunct staff were being owed 28months, those on contracts and regular engagements were owed 24 and 14 months respectively.
He said it was unfortunate that an institution jointly owned by 55 dioceses would find it difficult to pay its staff.
He however absolved Archbishop Ibezim who he said had cushioned their suffering through provisions of periodic bailout funds.
He said, “We have been working these months without salary and they have been making promises without any fulfilment. Imagine what our families are passing through without salary?
“There’s a saying that a goat owned by the public dies faster. That’s our experience in this school. Why not shut down the school if they can’t afford to pay?”
Reacting, the Primate assured them he had waded into the matter, adding that their grievances were receiving attention.
He said, “Your issues are receiving attention. I’ve stepped into the matter. The labourer deserves his wages. I stand with you and feel your pains. I and other Bishops, Senate and management will put heads together to ensure your matter receives attention.
“I’ve directed that some money be released to attend to the issue. In due time you’ll hear from us.”