Taraba pupils protest over non-payment of their teachers’ salaries
Primary school pupils in Jalingo, capital of Taraba State, yesterday marched through major streets in protest against the unpaid salaries of their teachers.
The pupils, who carried various placards, chanted that the state government’s failure to pay their teachers have hindered their academic pursuit.
The protesters, who came from all the public schools in the state, lamented that their teachers have been relegated to the background.
Some of them, who spoke to The Guardian, said: “We decided to take over our teachers’ struggle because the state government had failed to listen to their plea for the payment of the arrears of their salaries and other entitlements.”
The protest caused heavy traffic congestion, making vehicles to take alternative routes, while workers trekked to their places of work.
Among major roads barricaded by the school children were the ones leading to the primary schools board and the state secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A few teachers who were seen among the protesting pupils said: “These children are aware of our difficulties and are not pleased with the snail speed of academic activities in their various schools.”
One of them told The Guardian that: “The refusal of government to pay our salaries in the past eight months is not only affecting us, but also the pupils. What you are witnessing now is not anybody’s making, but that of the government.”
When the state office of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) was contacted, the NUT Deputy Chairman, Yusuf Garba, said: “NUT is doing its best to ensure that the problems facing the primary school teachers were urgently resolved.”
He denied the insinuation that the NUT “mobilised the pupils to the streets.”
Teachers in the state had on several occasions embarked on peaceful demonstration demanding the payments of their ten months salaries and other entitlements.
Efforts to speak with the Commissioner of Education, or a competent government official were unsuccessful at the time of filling this report.