The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, yesterday, threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if its members were left under local structure for salary payment and other benefits.
Speaking at a briefing, national President of NUT, Comrade Michael Olukoya, stressed the union’s resolve to stay away from the classroom if the government would leave primary school system under the local government.
The position by the teachers’ union was in view of a proposal by the National Assembly granting local government autonomy in the ongoing constitutional review.
The leadership of the NUT argued that most local governments were not viable to promote primary education and often maltreated their members, stressing that if primary education was not detached from the local governments, it would be disastrous for the development of the nation’s primary school system.
“The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, cannot afford to close its eyes against the approaching darkness that could soon envelope the country in the event of abolition of Local Government Joint Account where no alternative platform for stable primary education in Nigeria which would guarantee regular payment of primary school teachers’salaries.
“The union has resolved to stay off the school system as from the beginning of the next academic session as a temporary measure to secure the education of the less privileged, constituting the masses of the population of this country. To be forewarned is to be fore armed.
“We must, however, appeal to the 36 Houses of Assembly in the states to throw out any semblance of abolition of local government Joint Account and establish its right of oversight over the local governments.” Olukola said.
The union stated that it would no longer remain under the local government structure if it was granted autonomy.
“NUT has a responsibility and constituency, we are looking at the autonomy on the transfer of resources from the federal account, and we are against the treatment from the local governments, and we cannot stand akimbo and watch this happen to us. We do not want our primary education to further worsen.
“We want the primary school system to be removed from the local government even though they were granted autonomy and return us to the federal system we were in the past. If the House of Representatives will say let primary school education remain under local government it will be calamitous.
“Local governments lack the capacity and ability to pay our members and finance primary education, and our members were treated as slaves. It is very clear in the constitution that primary education is the responsibility of the state government, while local government should participate and not for local government to be responsible for payment.
“As we are affiliate to Nigeria Labour Congress, so is it with Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, and NLC is looking at local government autonomy from a holistic point o0f view because they want national resources to come them directly, but we are looking at the autonomy on transfer of resources. We are talking about the way and manner local government manage resources, and in the past have negatively affected our members,” Olukoya stated.
He therefore appealed to the National Assembly to retain the State Joint Local Government Accounts or transfer the responsibility for the payment of salaries of primary school teachers to the state government.
“It is concomitant restructuring of the fiscal structure of our national resources in favour of the States to guarantee uninterrupted and unfettered primary education in Nigeria,” he stated.
#EndSARS Protest: Sanwo-Olu Orders Closure Of Schools In Lagos
The Lagos State Government led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the closure of public and private schools indefinitely in the state.
The closure of schools in Lagos was announced in a press statement on Monday by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi.
The statement which was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’, quoted Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, the Commissioner for Education, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.”
This is coming at a time #EndSARS protests against police brutality and bad governance by Nigerian youths grounded academic activities in some schools in the state on Monday.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
NECO Shifts Exam Over #EndSARS Protest
The National Examination Council, NECO, has announced the rescheduled of one of the practical examinations supposed to hold in October till the next month.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday, October 18, by the Head, Information and Public Relations Division for the Nigerian exam body, Mr. Azeez Sani.
He announced that the Paper I Computer Studies Practicals examination which was supposed to be taken on Monday, October 19 is now delayed till November 16, 2020.
Sani revealed that the postponement is a result of the ongoing #EndSARS protests across the country, particularly the blockage of movement of transport at the entrance gate into Benin City, the Edo state capital.
He noted further that the truck conveying NECO examination materials had left its take-off point two days earlier to deliver to some states but has been held up in the ‘blockage.
FG, ASUU Meeting Over IPPIS, UTAS End In Deadlock
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday ended in a deadlock.
Although some agreements were reached at the meeting, the meeting is set to reconvene on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, by 3.00 pm after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for ASUU to report back on the decision of its NEC.
In a bid to end the strike, the federal government agreed to release N30billion for payment of arrears of earned academic allowance to the university lecturers.
The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting revealed that the release of N20 billion funds for revitalisation of public universities will be payable by the end of January 2021.
On the issue of Earned Academic Allowances(EAA), which had accumulated to N40 billion since November 2019, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) made a commitment to release N30 billion on or before November 6, 2020.
He said the remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over the two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022, respectively.
The communiqué also revealed that ASUU agreed to take the offer to its members for consideration and revert by Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
The issue of the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) almost stalled the meeting as the federal government asked that IPPIS be allowed to operate in the interim until the test run on UTAS is concluded.
But ASUU insisted on payment of outstanding salaries on the old GIFMIS platform before full implementation of UTAS.
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