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Niger teachers threaten to form union parallel to NUT

Some aggrieved members of the union have threatened to form a parallel body

Following the crisis rocking the Niger State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), some aggrieved members of the union have threatened to form a parallel body.

But the the Niger State government on Tuesday declared that it is only the NUT that  is a recognised umbrella body for teachers in primary and post-primary institutions in the state.

The government said instead of forming any parallel union, all aggrieved members of the NUT should embrace dialogue to arrive at a common front for the good of the members.

The Commissioner for Education, Hajia Hannatu Jibrin Salihu, made the declaration at a meeting with officials of the state branch of the NUT over the 21-day ultimatum issued to government to address an 11-point demand that will improve the quality of education in the state.

Salihu, who was reacting to a letter of protest purportedly signed by some 2,800 secondary school teachers, notifying the government of their intention to withdraw from the NUT and for the ministry of education to stop any deduction from their salaries as union dues, said: “As far as the government is concerned, it is only the NUT that is recognised. Our position is backed by the relevant labour laws” .

She advised those concerned to study the laws governing the operation of their unions, adding that the government “cannot be used to legalise any illagality.”

Speaking on the 21-point demand by the NUT, the commissioner disclosed that government has started looking into the demands made by the NUT, stressing that as a first step, the State Universal Basic Education Board (NSBEB) has been directed to recall all the teachers withdrawn from the service of the government.

She explained that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has also directed that the vacant teaching positions in the state should be identified and immediate action taken to recruit qualified teachers to fill the vacancies.

On the outstanding salaries of some primary school teachers, Salihu said a tripartite committee from the ministry, NSUBEB and Ministry for Local Government has been set up to look into the issue and proffer solution.

She pleaded with the union to revisit its ultimatum” since government has started addressing the demands”

Both the State Chairman of the NUT, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar, and the Principal Assistant Secretary General, Comrade Labaran Garba,  thanked the government for the steps taken so far but asked for “quick action in the interest of everyone.”

Commenting on the demand of some secondary school teachers to pull out of the NUT, the union leaders aligned themselves with the position of the government, adding that “the union was not consulted before the demand was made.”

They said nobody has communicated NUT as a body of their intention to pull out of the union; even such a move is illegal going by the law that established the  union.


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