From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
Teachers in Kwara state have issued a-14 day ultimatum to the state government to pay the three months’ salary arrears of their members in the junior and primary school cadres or risk full scale industrial action.
The teachers, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) said the ultimatum commenced from September 3.
But the state government said it dumfounded over the development, since the teachers and the NUT officials are in the know of the state and local government dire financial situation.
In a statement, the state chair and secretary of NUT Musa Abubakar and Ola Idris said that “despite repeated demands and several representations to government, there has not been any positive response from the state government.”
The teachers at the end of the state’s executive council meeting resolved among others; “that the state government should pay all outstanding salaries of primary and junior secondary school teachers of June, July and August 2015 without any further delay; that all
deductions from teachers’ salaries for the aforementioned months should be equally paid without delay; that a-14 day ultimatum is hereby given from 3rd of September, 2015 to the state government to address the issues of primary school teachers, failure of which an
industrial action shall be declared; that all well-meaning citizens of the state are called upon to prevail on the state government to treat teachers as bona fide citizens of the state by paying them their entitlements; that government should stop polarizing the teachers in the state as the NUT is one and an indivisible union.”
The union also accused the government of neglecting the primary school sub-sector in the scheme of things.
Reacting to the ultimatum, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Media and Communications, Dr Muideen Akorede said: “It is surprising that the NUT will issue an ultimatum to the state government, when its officials have always been kept apprised of the state and local government finances especially in the light of dwindling allocations.
“While the responsibility for paying the salary of primary school teachers belongs to local government councils, the state government is doing everything possible to address the issue of local government arrears including teachers’. The state government recently secured legislative approval to convert all arrears at the local council level into a Federal
Government bailout loan. We also augmented the August allocation to local governments by N800 million for payment of salaries. However, the Federal Government is yet to release the N5 billion bailout loan for local government.
“We are hopeful that the Federal Government will release the funds soon so that all local government workers and pensioners will receive their arrears.”