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Okowa, NUT head for showdown over unpaid teachers’ salaries

By Owen Akenzua, Asaba and Emmanuel Ande, Yola
11 August 2016   |   2:07 am
The cordial relationship that existed between the Delta state government, and the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), may have been threatened with the recent call by the latter ...
Ifeanyi Okowa

Ifeanyi Okowa

• Adamawa lawmakers, teachers at war over e-payment

The cordial relationship that existed between the Delta state government, and the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), may have been threatened with the recent call by the latter on the former to urgently address the plight of teachers in the state.

Addressing newsmen in his office recently, the state’s NUT chairman, Comrade Jemirieyigbe Jonathan, urged the governor to, as a matter of urgency, commence the payment of unpaid salaries of primary school teachers in the state.

He charged the governor to also look into the non-promotion of all graduate teachers in the primary school system beyond Grade Level 14 and above; non-implementation of 2014 promotion arrears, and 2015 promotion of primary and secondary school teachers.

Others include the non-release of 2015/2016 promotion of secondary school teachers; non-release of 2016 promotion of primary school teachers; unlawful collection of N8, 000 screening fee from some secondary school teachers yet to be refunded by the Post Primary Education Board (PPEB) by a consulting firm, and the non-appointment of eligible teachers as permanent secretaries to fill vacancies in the zonal boards of PPEB by the present administration.

He therefore, demanded the “immediate restoration of all teachers that were illegally removed from the pay-roll by the state government; the stoppage of undue delay in the remittance of the union dues/co-operative deductions; the non-payment of teachers’ peculiar allowances to primary school teachers from February 2016 till date, and the payment of primary school teachers by data/figures generated by a private consultant instead of the state’s computer centre. He also wants the non-payment of minimum wage arrears of primary school teachers in the state to be addressed.

In another development, the recent directive by the Adamawa State House of Assembly urging governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow, to suspend the implementation of e-payment in all local councils of the state, has been heavily criticised by the leadership of the state’s teachers’ union, which has also urged the governor to ignore the lawmakers.

It would be recalled that the lawmakers had last week summoned the Secretary to the State Government (SGF), Mr. Umar Bindir, to explain why the government introduced e-payment in the 21 local councils of the state.

Chairman of the union, Comrade Rodney Nathan, who described the directive as detrimental and inhuman to the welfare of teachers, asked the lawmakers to focus on issues that will bring development to the state.

Nathan said that teachers in the state initiated the e-payment scheme to avoid delay in payment of salaries, checkmate ghost workers problem and to introduce transparency in the system.

“I am shocked that the House of Assembly that is supposed to initiate schemes that can help government to defeat fraud in the system will go against such schemes initiated by workers. We are in the digital age and nobody can drag us back to the stone age. We are educated that is why we are planting the knowledge in others, and nobody can infringe on our rights.

“If e-payment is a sin in the state why didn’t the lawmakers stop the scheme at the state level? Why would the e-payment at local government level become an issue that members will spend useful hours discussing an issue they lack powers to implement? When teachers and health workers were being owed for four to six months what did they do? They should keep off from our affairs in their interest, because we are not going to take it kindly with anyone that attempts to temper with our sweat.

He continued, “Before the introduction of e-payment, I was collecting N50,000 as my monthly salary, but with e-payment, I started collecting N58,000, every month. This means someone was pocketing N8, 000 out of my salary monthly. This is one of the reasons we demanded for e-payment, and so there is no going back.”