Illegal Demotion Of Abia State Headmistress – Nigerian Youths Forum Issues Strong Statement

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Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

The Young Leaders Association of Nigeria, 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 Abia State Government of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. 

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 and thereafter handed over to her a transfer letter to another primary school in Ukwa-East Local Government Area to resume as a classroom teacher.

The news which has been reported by various media as first trumpeted by the Punch Newspaper alleged that the innocent woman’s ordeal came as a result of her “embarrassing” the wife of the governor Nkechi Ikpeazu who was in that school to kick-off her one free meal programme for the primary school pupils.

The embarrassment was that Mrs. Maryleen Ezichi pleaded with Nkechi Ikpeazu to please 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 medical need of their wards, pay debts, and other needs.

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But surprisingly, instead of having pity on these starving teachers who are putting up their best to groom these little 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 the height of injustice and inhumanity to humanity. No other type of incarceration can be worse than this.

What baffles us is that the Abia State Government and its officials who are supposed to tell Abia community the truth of the matter are busy denying awareness of the event which has been in the public domain for more than a week now. We begin to wonder if the present government is turning Abia into a stage drama.

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”.

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We have tried so hard to link even an iota of truth in this claim but could not. How will somebody in her right senses run a beer parlour in a primary school? Who will patronize her? The primary school pupils? This kind of tales can only come when the government is grasping for grounds to cover up its unfairness to the people it is meant to protect and advance.

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 as usual. The NUT, Abia State Chapter Chairman who managed to speak to a news medium also claimed ignorance of the incident, taking the same pattern of the government and using the same language of the government officials.

We think that they are reading the script given to them by the government. The umbrella bodies which are supposed to speak and protect this gallant woman have rather decided to carry handbag for the government.

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The Young Leaders Association of Nigeria, Abia State Chapter therefore condemns this undue maltreatment of Abians by the government. We demand that the governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s government should be humane and reinstate Mrs. Maryleen Ezichi.

She should be promoted and not demoted. We also call on other well meaning civil society groups, 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 uplift 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

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