Primary school pupils and secondary school students in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, were on Thursday asked to go back home after their teachers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), declared a five-day warning strike over non-payment of their promotion arrears.
The action came about with respect to the resolution reached at the end of an emergency State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) meeting of the Union at the Teacher’s House in Gwagwalada, on Wednesday.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, acting secretary of the NUT, Comrade Margareth Jethro, said the union resolved to embark on the strike due to non-commitment and lack of political will by the six area council chairmen to settle outstanding entitlements of LEA primary school teachers in the FCT.
Jethro said despite various ultimatums issued to the six area council chairmen to settle the outstanding entitlements of the teachers, they have refused to heed the union’s call to pay teachers’ entitlements, which she said included non-implementation of 2019 and 2020 promotion arrears in some LEAs.
According to her, the council chairmen have also refused to offset teachers’ promotion arrears from 2014 to 2018, non-implementation of 2020 and 2021 annual increments, and upgrading of qualified teachers.
She also said the FCT Administration has failed to pay 2016, 2017, and 2018 promotion arrears to the secondary school teachers in the FCT despite the ultimatum issued.
“Having deliberated exhaustively, on the issues, at stake, the SWEC in the session was saddened at the non-commitment of the area council chairmen and the management of the FCT administration to the settlements of the FCT teachers outstanding entitlements and therefore resolved to embark on a five-day warning strike with effect from Thursday, 18, November 2021,” she said.
Jethro added that the failure of the FCT Administration and the six area council chairmen to settle the outstanding entitlements of FCT teachers within five days period of the warning strike, the union will have no other option than to declare an indefinite strike to press home their demands.
A fact check by Nigerian Tribune discovered that students in different schools across the city capital were asked to return home on Thursday morning.
In the latest development as at the of filing this report, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello had chaired a meeting between the FCT Administration and the leadership of the FCT Wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers that have embarked on a 5-day warning strike to press home demands for enhanced security in schools and payment of arrears of promotion benefits for teachers.
The meeting held in the office of the Minister was attended by the senior management officers of the FCTA and heads of some security agencies in the FCT.
The NUT leadership was briefed by heads of security agencies in the FCT made up of the FCT Commissioner of Police Mr Babaji Sunday, State Director of the DSS, Mr Ado Muazu and the State Commandant of the NSCDC, Dr Peter Maigari. They said measures were being taken to improve the security situation in schools.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, the NUT Chairman, Comrade Stephen Knabayi said that the Union appreciated the efforts of the security agencies and assurances from the FCT Minister that all efforts will be made to protect the lives and properties of teachers and students within the FCT.
He also expressed the appreciation of the union to the Minister for the pronouncement on the payment of promotion arrears of 2017 and 2018 before the end of the year.
Speaking on the return of teachers to the classroom, the NUT chairman said “from this meeting and from all the resolutions we will go back without waste of time” When asked to give the exact date of calling off the strike action, the NUT chairman said he would have to go and consult with his colleagues first to arrive at such decision.
He also appealed to the FCT Minister to intervene in the payment of arrears of LEA teachers under the administration of the Area Councils.
In a similar vein, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola said “it was agreed that for us in the FCT, the allowances of our teachers will be paid for 2017, since 2016 had already been paid and that consideration should also be given to prioritizing payment for those in the teaching profession of 2018 before the end of the year.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Margaret Jethro, Secretary, FCT NUT, Dr Mohammed Bashir, Director of Human Resources Management, FCTA, Mr Abdulrazak Leramo Ag Secretary for Education and Dr Abdulateef Bello, Ag Director of Security, FCTA and other senior officials of the FCTA.