THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate Union, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), on Wednesday, warned both the federal and state governments against non-payment of salaries of teachers and alleged attempt to retrench some teachers in their payrolls.
The teachers have also issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to address some issues relating to their welfare, failure of which they would withdraw their services to the nation.
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and NUT President, Comrade Michael Alogba Olukoya, spoke at a low-Key celebration of the 2016 World Teachers’ Day with theme: “Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status” in Abuja.
NUT President particularly said that after the World Teachers’ Day celebration, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union would meet to review issues bothering on the welfare of its members and take appropriate action if the government fails to address the demands of teachers.
Olukoya lamented that Nigerian teachers were denied their rightful status and pride of place in society and remains the least regarded profession that has continued to suffer societal disdain, neglect and degradation.
NUT President called on the Federal Government to ensure that only professionally trained and qualified persons were engaged in the proposed recruitment of 500,000 teachers in order to promote professionalism and effective service delivery in the school system.
Olukoya, who disclosed the union would meet in two weeks time to review its demand, said the teachers would be forced to down tools if urgent steps were not taken to pay up all salaries owed teachers in primary and secondary schools in the federation.
According to him, some states owe teachers from two months to about seven months, hiding under the facts of the current economic recession to divert primary and secondary schools funds to other purposes.
He also called on governments at all levels to see to the plight of retired teachers and to ensure that their benefits in terms of gratuities and pensions were paid to them so that labour of the veterans would not be in vain.
He said: “We must sit down, assess the situation, celebrate ourselves despite the fact that we are being maligned and oppressed from here and there. It is not Uhuru, freedom is still very far from the realm of teaching.
Olukoya expressed displeasure of teachers over the absence of both ministers of education at the annual event saying, “Look at the minister of education, minister of state for education, we are celebrating education these two principal officers are not on seat.
“I am aware that the minister of education is out of the country, but that is not it, I am equally aware that the minister of state is in Jos, but today is their day, teachers of this country are not happy with them not to be physically in attendance, if it were in other clime I think something more drastic would have been done.”
Also blasting the absence of the ministers, the president Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said there was no excuse that was more important than working together with the teachers today to address fundamental issues in the education system.
He gave assurances of NLC’s commitment towards ensuring that the demands made by Nigerian teachers were addressed and actualised to enhance the welfare of teachers in the country.
Unpaid deductions: We have lost 50 teachers in one year —Ogun ASUSS
The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Comrade Akeem Lasisi, in Ogun State, on Wednesday, disclosed that no fewer than 50 of its members have lost their lives in the last one year, over unpaid deductions by the state government.
He said this in his speech at the 2016 World Teachers’ Day celebration, held at its secretariat, along Abiola Way, Abeokuta, that the unremitted cooperative societies’ funds, bank loans and other sundry deductions were responsible for their untimely deaths.
He said, “It is disheartening to place on record that in the last one year, Ogun State Secondary School sector of teaching has lost as many as over 50 of its workforce to the cold hands of death, and unfortunately, we are still counting.
The union appealed to the state government to pay the monies which they said had “long been trapped or unnecessarily saved in government’s coffers ever before Nigeria, our beloved country, strolled into economic recession.”
He also appealed to the government to make available more teaching personnel, noting that deaths, retirement, change in job and duty posts have drastically reduced the number of teachers in the state public schools.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Teachers’ (NUT) state chairman, Comrade Dare Ilekoya, has called on the federal and the state government to reappraise the role of teachers in nation building.
Kwara teachers want 70 years as retirement age
Teachers in primary and post-primary schools in Kwara State have asked the state government to increase their retirement age to 70 years.
Speaking at the occasion, marking the 2016 World Teachers Day celebration in Ilorin, on Wednesday, the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Musa Abubakar, said that the vacuum created by the retired teachers in the state in recent time would be difficult to fill within the next decade.
“Teachers suffer same fate all over the world irrespective of their tier of operation. Justice demands that they should be bound by common destiny. The extension of retirement age of professors in the tertiary institutions to 70 years should be extended to teachers, who constitute foundation of education, i.e. primary and secondary education,” he said.
The NUT chairman, who said that teachers in primary schools have not been promoted since 2013, added that their counterpart in the Teaching Service Commission also suffered.
“We also demand that promotion letters for the categories of teachers that have completed all formalities of promotion in SUBEB and TESCOM be released with immediate effect while those that are qualified be subjected to all rudimentary of promotion,” he said.
The Kwara State teachers also suggested that a national policy should be formulated to make all public servants withdraw their wards from private schools to public schools.