Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, His Grace, Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, has assured protesting staff of Paul University, Awka, Anambra State of soonest payment of their outstanding salaries.
He asked them to exercise patience with the management, assuring them that their labour would not be in vain.
Some staff of the university had during the commissioning of Law Faculty building of the institution named after Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger and Anglican Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Alexander Ibezim, carried out peaceful march over unpaid salaries by the management.
The protesters 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”, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, acting ICT Head, Chidi Gabriel, said while the Adjuncts Staff were being owed 28months, those on contracts and regulars were owed 24 and 14 months respectively.
He said it was unfortunate that an institution jointly owned by about 55 dioceses of the communion would find it difficult to pay its staff.
He however absolved the host, Archbishop Ibezim, who he said had periodically cushioned their suffering through provisions of bailout funds.
He said: “We have been working these months without salary with 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 easily. That’s our experience in this school. Why not shut down the school if they can’t afford to pay?”
But the Primate assured them he has waded into the matter, promising that their grievances were receiving attention.
He said: “Your issues are receiving attention. I’ve stepped into the matter. The labourer deserves his wages and you won’t labour in vain. I stand with you and feel your pains.
“I and other Bishops, Senate and management will put heads together to ensure your matter is addressed. I’ve also directed that some money be released for you. In due time you’ll hear from us.”
The Primate, accompanied by Archbishop of Enugu Archdiocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, and other Bishops also commissioned Renaissance Modern Polytechnic Mbaukwu and Millennium College of Nursing Sciences, all owned by the Awka Diocese.
Photos: 1) protesting staff
2) Primate Ndukuba commissioning the Law faculty building