WARRI – Ninety nine employees of Delta State government who were engaged between August 2012 and January 2013 as Staff of College of Education, Warri, COEWA, have cried out over delay by Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to respect a court judgment ordering that they be called back to duty and their full entitlements, including payment of sixty one million, three hundred thousand, four hundred and fifty seven naira (N61, 300, 457) net salaries from February 2013 to May 2016, implemented.

The affected workers whose appointment letters were duly signed by Registrar of College of Education, Warri, DNS (Mrs.) A. Urowayino, dragged the provost of COEWA, the Governor of Delta State, Attorney-General of the State and two other defendants to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Awka Judicial Division in Suit No: NICN/ASB/03/2014 after the state government controversially stopped payment of their salaries February2013.

In the judgement delivered by Hon. Justice Waziri Abali March 16, 2018, the court declared that the claimants are employees of College of Education, Warri and should be called back to duty, while their monthly salaries, allowances and entitlements particular to their respective positions/ grades be paid from the date of delivery of the judgment.

The court also ordered College of Education, Warri to remit the appropriate portion of contributory pension to the 99 workers’ pension fund providers and restrained the Delta State Government as well as the school management from “interfering, preventing or in any way hindering the claimants from performing their respective functions as staff of the 1st Defendant(COEWA)”.

Twelve of the claimants, including Emioma Christopher C., Okonta Clement, Torubighan Ebobra, Egbowe Faith, Sokoh Favour and Uvwie Evelyn, filed the suit on behalf of the 99 staff who have continued to live in untold hardship as the defendants continue to delay implementation of the judgment by heading to the Appeal Court, Benin amid restraining order 9 of the Industrial Court, Awka.

According to the aggrieved workers, they successfully went through the biometric exercise carried out by the Okowa administration through a consultant, Heckerbella in 2016 like other civil and public servants in the Delta State Government payroll, but wondered why the administration remained adamant even though one of them lost his wife August 2016 over inability to pay medical bills.