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Teachers strike: N’Assembly wades in

Posted by From JACOB EDI, SAMUEL OGIDAN, AMOS DUNIA and AKINBOYEWA, (Abuja) IME OLA and ONYEKACHI NJOKU-JET, Lagos on 2008/07/05 | Views: 2930 |

Teachers strike: N’Assembly wades in


The House of Representatives on Wednesday waded into the nationwide teachers strike with a clear warning that the Federal Government must accede to the teachers’ demand with immediate effect as the indefinite strike enters its third day.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday waded into the nationwide teachers strike with a clear warning that the Federal Government must accede to the teachers’ demand with immediate effect as the indefinite strike enters its third day.
Similarly, the lower legislative chamber asked the striking teachers to return to their classrooms while efforts are being made to resolve the matter.

But the teachers, speaking through their National Chairman, Niran Ojo, insisted it will not go back to classrooms until their demands are met. The teachers had on Monday began an indefinite strike after the mandatory three-day warning strike about two week ago.

On Wednesday, Honorable Faruk Lawan, speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives raised a motion calling the attention of the lawmakers to the dangers posed by the continued strike and equally raising concern that strikes have been the hallmark of the Nigerian educational system in recent times.
While recalling that in 2003 various stakeholders in the education sector agreed that teachers deserve a better salary structure, Lawan disclosed that the 2008 appropriation has made adequate provisions for the new Teachers Salary Scale for the 102 unity schools in the country.

"What the teachers are asking for is that the Federal Government should implement what has already been approved in the 2008 budget," Lawan emphasized.
In his contribution, Honourable Mohammed Ndume noted that already the strike is having a multiplier effect on private schools "and we are aware of the social problems of wards that are already out of schools talk more of those that are not there."

Honourable Halims Agoda, who spoke with similar sentiment as the previous speakers said, "the era whereby teachers receive their reward in heaven is gone. They send their children to school like us in this country. It is disheartening to note that both the president and the vice president were once great teachers."

Similarly, the Senate Committee on Education has said it is determined to work harder to ensure that educational development targets are not derailed in view of the on-going teachers’ strike.
The committee chaired by Senator Joy Emodi (PDP Anambra) has, therefore, requested the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), which it described as the most responsible trade union in Nigeria, to in the spirit of patriotism and maturity continue to adopt dialogue as the best vehicle to resolve the crisis.
"We are all aware that the foundation of every nation is the education of her people. The place of our dear country, Nigeria, in the light of this is gradually becoming hopeless."

She said the Senate Committee on Education has been engrossed in efforts aimed at resolving the various problems, adding that the committee after its meeting, resolved to remain resolute in its quest for peace and harmony in the education sector.

The NUT chairman in swift press conference after the debate on the floor of the House of Representatives said the strike will continue until their demands are met.
"We are ready to go back if the Federal Government meets our demands. If the government is ready to do its part, we will call off," Comrade Ojo stated while expressing appreciation over the concern shown by the lawmakers.

Meanwhile, in Lagos, the NUT has started picketing some private schools.
At Hope Bay College, a privately owned school in Maza-Maza area of Mile 2, Daily Sun gathered that some union members were in the school to force the teachers to down tools.
Kelechi Onye, a student of the school told Daily Sun: "The NUT came to our school to force our teachers to go home, but our teachers ignored them and told them that they were not government workers and as such could not join in their strike."

When Daily Sun visited Learning Field Schools, another private school in Satellite Town, the gates were locked. One of the teachers who preferred anonymity said: "Students have been advised to stay at home in the meantime because of harassment from the Lagos State Chapter of NUT. They came to disturb us and we don’t want them to injure our students."

At Providence Heights Secondary School, Fagba, Iju, the principal, Mr. Godwin Abhulimen said: "We cannot join the strike because we are not being paid by the government. The NUT has not explained to us why we should join the strike."
However, normal academic activities were on at both Command Secondary School, Oshodi and Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ojo when Daily Sun visited the two schools.

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