Four die in college fire outbreak, colleagues protest

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Workers of the Federal Science and Technical College, Ukana Offot, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Friday protested against the death of four cooks while putting out fire from gas explosion in the school’s kitchen.

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The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protesters barricaded the school’s gate and carried placards with inscriptions as: “No payment of death benefits to our late colleagues’ families”; “Principal, settle your house before charity.”

Others were: “No duty tour allowance, no party”; “Principal who buys gifts for her friends is corrupt”; and: “DTA is a right, not a privilege.”

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The Chairman, Nigeria Civil Service Union, Akwa Ibom State chapter, Iboro Umoren, said the union was demanding payment of entitlements to families of the deceased.

Umoren said the principal organised a party for friends with the least gifts estimated at N150,000.

Umoren said: “We decided to embark on this peaceful protest because we presented some of our demands to our boss, the principal, who refused to have dialogue with us.

“When we demanded that the college should pay their death benefits, the principal declined and put the files away.

“She did not also release vehicles for us to attend their burial.”

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Umoren further said that the principal had not paid duty tour allowance to their colleagues who attended promotion interviews.

Umoren further alleged that the principal collected N8,000 from students for bedwetting, N2,500 for mackintosh, N2,500 for paint and N2,500 for window frames allegedly broken by the students.

According to him, the students denied bedwetting and that the principal was only extorting money from them.

The Principal of the college, Pauline Etoamaihe, said the allegations leveled against her were false.

Etoamaihe said: “All are lies.

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“If there is a genuine union, the executives should come to management for discussion.”

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