NUT laments non-payment of benefits for 547 teachers killed in North East

The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has expressed concern over the non-payment of death benefits to families of 547 teachers affected by the insurgencies in the North-Eastern part of the country.

National President of NUT, Dr Nasir Idris, spoke on Tuesday at the 2020 edition of the Solemn Assembly, which is held annually by the Union to kick-start the year’s programmes and activities.

The clerics, Ven. Arinze Egemba and Sheikh Muhammad Bin Uthman, during their sermons, called on governments at all levels to improve on the welfare and remuneration of teachers in the country.

While fielding questions from newsmen at the end of the event, the NUT President appealed to both the Federal and affected states governments to expedite action on the computation and payment of the death benefits to the deceased families in order to alleviate their plight.

Idris said: “On the issue of insurgency, based on the available records we have in the office, about 547 teachers have been affected by the insurgencies in the North-Eastern part of the country.

“Unfortunately, the death benefits of some of these teachers have not been paid to their families. We are engaging the affected State governments for them to do everything humanly possible to ensure that the death benefits of the deceased teachers are paid.

“These teachers were being affected innocently; some of them were in the school, some in their houses while some others were killed on their way to their places of work.

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“Therefore, we want to appeal to the State governments including the Federal Government to come to the aid of the people so that the death benefits could be computed and paid to the families,” he said.

On the 65 years retirement age, NUT President said the recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa was fruitful, saying Buhari was positively disposed towards all the demands of the Union.

He said: “The President has already directed the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, to write a memo and itemise those things that we had mentioned at the meeting and bring it to him (Buhari) for approval.

“Invariably, we have made headway because we have passed through all the processes in the National Assembly up the public hearing and everybody is in consonance with the agitation by the Nigerian teachers.

“We looked at it that if the university lecturers, polytechnics and colleges of education have all had upward review of their retirement age, we do not see the reason why the primary and post-primary being the grassroots will not enjoy that gesture.

“The problem we are having now is that most of our classrooms are empty, especially in the rural areas and these teachers are ready to continue with their jobs because State governments are no longer recruiting teachers except few of them who recruited teachers in the past five or 10 years,”.

He said because of that there is an acute shortage of teachers in the primary and secondary schools, saying this was one of the reasons why the leadership of NUT has appealed to the Federal government to extend the age of retirement of teachers so that even if new ones are not recruited the available ones could be managed.

He added that a lot of teachers are retiring while no recruitment is being done to replace them.

At the solemn assembly, Prayers were held for the leadership of NUT all levels, unemployed, youth and retirees whose pension and gratuity are still being awaited, Presidential assent to the Bill on the retirement age of teachers at 65 years.

The teachers also prayed for the Federal and State governments to implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage and the consequential adjustment for both junior and senior workers at all levels among others.

In his sermon, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Uthman, preached about love, peace and understanding across the various ethnic groups in Nigeria, saying the barbaric killings going on in the country must be condemned.

He equally advised the teachers to respect the claimable rights of the school children including punctuality to the classroom and proper attention to the learners among others.

While calling on governments at all levels to ensure adequate remuneration and welfare of teachers, Uthman said teachers should be role models to the school children, urging them to avoid strike as possible since it is the children that suffer when they are thrown out of classrooms.

He also called on the government to properly secure the country, ensure food security, quality education, job creation, quality healthcare delivery, and development of infrastructure including stable power supply, good water, good roads among others.

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