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Teachers’ strike: FG warns against private schools’ picketing

Posted by From LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja and ROSE EJEMBI, Makurdi on 2008/07/04 | Views: 2564 |

Teachers’ strike: FG warns against private schools’ picketing


As the on-going strike embarked upon by teachers across the country enters the fourth day, the Federal Government has warned the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) not to carry out its threat to picket private schools not engaged in the action.

As the on-going strike embarked upon by teachers across the country enters the fourth day, the Federal Government has warned the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) not to carry out its threat to picket private schools not engaged in the action.
Reacting to the directive by the union for its members to picket private schools whose teachers were not involved in the strike, the Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. John Odey said no reasonable government would fold its arms and watch such a development with its security implication.

He said: "How will you compel the private schools to take their own rates? They may decide to pay their teachers higher than our own teachers, so they don’t fall within the same bracket. It is very unfortunate. It is sad that a group of people who are also pioneers in the educational sector would take the laws into their hands. It is most unfortunate and no reasonable government of course, would allow that to happen and certainly, we will not allow that to happen and entrepreneurs would not allow that to happen.

"At least, this country is civilised enough not to allow such to happen. I think it is just unfortunate. NUT is a responsible organisation and I don’t think they can go to such extent. We still believe that they will do everything within the laws, because we look up to them as mentors. We are yet to believe that they are going to do it and if they do, it will be very unfortunate."

Odey, who with his education counterpart, Dr. Igwe Aja-Wachukwu and his ministers of state as well as the Minister of Labour, Dr. Hassan Lawan, pleaded for understanding by the teachers in the on-going effort to amicably resolve the issues at stake.

Saying government was not unmindful of the demands of the teachers, he explained further that the issue of salary increase was beyond the Federal Government, which he pointed out had no constitutional power to negotiate on behalf of the states, adding that it depended on the ability of the various states to pay.

Throwing more light, the Minister of Education, Dr. Aja-Wachukwu, said even in the public sector, there were laid down procedures for increasing salaries. He expressed the hope that common reason would be allowed to prevail in the present circumstance.

He said only about 12, 754 teachers nationwide could be said to belong to the Federal Government out of well over 700,000 across the country and wondered how it could be possible for the Federal Government to make a pronouncement on the issue, which largely concerned the states.
Meanwhile, Benue State Academic Union of Secondary Schools has refused to join the strike action in the state.

The chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr Godwin Anya, who made the accusation, told Daily Sun that the strike action was 100 per cent a success in all the primary schools in the state, noting that some secondary schools teachers’ belonging to ASUSS had constituted themselves as bottlenecks to the teachers strike.

But a member of ASUSS, who preferred anonymity, blamed their breaking away on the NUT. He said they were tired of the NUT politics, stating that they would continue to resist the members of NUT and their leadership.

During a visit to Mount St Gabriel’s Secondary School, Government Model School and Government Secondary School, students were busy learning, while others who were on break were seen either playing or sitting in groups chatting.
The teachers said they had nothing to do with the action, which, they believed, would not yield any dividend.

An official of the Ministry of Education, who spoke with Daily Sun in his private capacity, blamed the Federal Government for ignoring teachers for long, reasoning that it was an unwholesome act for teachers to be neglected.

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