Piqued by the attitude of some state governments towards the well-being of teachers in their schools, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), the teachers’ umbrella union, has threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if the backlog of salaries owed teachers by defaulting state governments were not paid.
The National President of the union, Comrade Michael Alogba- Olukoya, who issue the threat during the 2018 Solemn Assembly of the union, which took place in Abuja, said no fewer than 12 states had not paid teachers’ salary ranging from two to 28 months as the case may be.
He listed some of the states owing their teachers and outstanding months to include Benue State Government (12 months), Nasarawa (26 months and half), Taraba (six months), Ondo (four months) and Kwara (two months), Abia (five months for primary and seven months for secondary school teachers), Ekiti (nine months for primary and months for secondary schools), Kaduna (five months), Delta (five months), Osun (28 months), Oyo (one month) and Bayelsa (seven months). Alogba-Olukoya, however, condemned in strong terms the sacking of over 21,000 primary school teachers by the Kaduna State Government on account of what he described as spurious claim that the teachers could not score up to 75 per cent in a competence test conducted by the state government for them without recourse to the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN). While calling on the Kaduna State Government to rescind its decision on the sacking of the teachers, he said: “We are dismayed over this show of impunity and lack of respect for the rule of law.”
On teachers retirement age, the NUT President noted there was need to review the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years. This was even as he kicked against the transfer of the funding and management of primary school education to the Local Government Councils in the name of granting autonomy to the councils.
The union leaders further condemned the hardship being experienced by retired teachers in many states of the federation, where he pointed out that they were been glaringly denied their pension and gratuity for years after rendering meritorious service to the nation. But, he commended the state governments that have regularly paid their teachers’ salary and allowances, saying they should continue in their good work and consideration for teacher’s welfare.
UNILAG VC secures release of detained union leaders
- As varsity matriculates 9,204 students
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has secured the release of the detained former Chairmen of the institution’s chapter of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (SSANU), Comrades Joseph Adefolalu and Adekola Adetomiwa, who were on Thursday arrested by the police.
The VC, accompanied by the leadership of the university’s chapter of the non-academic staff unions, visited the office of the Department of State Security (DSS) along CMD Road, Shangisha, to bail the union leaders, who were on Thursday transferred to the office from the Ikeja Division of the State Criminal Investigation Department.
Earlier, addressing the protesting workers in front of the institution’s Governing Council Chamber, Ogundipe expressed regret that the national strike had been allowed to degenerate to the level it is on the campus, saying even against the dictate of his office, he had gone on air to declare support for the striking workers.
The workers, who had assembled in their hundreds on the campus to protest the arrest of their leaders, accused the university management of harassing them since December 4, 2017, when the national strike was declared.
But, the union members did not disrupt the ongoing matriculation ceremony of the new intakes, where a total of 9,204 fresh undergraduate and postgraduate students were successfully matriculated.
The management of the university had earlier met with the leadership of the unions including the Chairmen of the university’s chapters of National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), Comrade Sulaiman Lawal and Kehinde Ajibade, among others, to address the crisis.
The VC said; “Dialogue will always be the way out of every crisis because we would always have cause to interact again. There is no other university that has shown support to the striking unions better than UNILAG, yet we are the one that suffers more attack from you. I can assure you that once we leave here, we will go to the Police Station together and ensure that our workers are released.
“If anyone says I ordered the arrest, let me make it clear that I do not have such power but I must add that no one is above the law, including me. On this campus, 120 electrical fuses were removed from the powerhouse on Monday, January 8, and that does not speak well of the unions. We must always reach compromise on difficult issues. We have kept on appealing to the Federal Government to resolve this matter as soon as possible and I am sure very soon, it will be over.”
The meeting between the unions and the management was attended by the leadership of the Police in the area including the Area Commander.
The union leaders appreciated the university management for the middle ground reached and pledged their support in the efforts to reposition the university for good.
It would be recalled that both Adefolalu and Adekola had on Thursday morning at about 1.30am been arrested in their homes by the Police from the Ikeja Division of the State Criminal Investigation Department.
The unions had blamed the development on the ongoing national strike declared by the Joint Action Committee of the non-academic staff in the universities nationwide, alleging that the decision to arrest the leaders may be in anticipation of likely disruption of the matriculation ceremony, which held today (Friday).
Strike: UNILAG postpones convocation indefinitely
Following the refusal of the non-academic staff unions in the nation’s universities to call off their two-month-old industrial action, and the threats by the unions’ chapters at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka, to disrupt the planned 50th convocation ceremonies scheduled to hold between February 19 and 22, the institution’s management has postponed the ceremonies indefinitely.
In a statement issued by the university and signed by the Principal Assistant Registrar (Information), Mrs. Taiwo Oloyede, a new date would be announced for the ceremonies soon.
Though Oloyede did not give reasons for the abrupt postponement, New Telegraph learnt the striking workers comprising members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), had threatened to disrupt the convocation ceremonies over what they described as the neglect they suffer in the hands of government.
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