Minister intervenes, NUT may call off strike
By Hussein Yahaya, Abubakar Sadiq Isah & Adam Umar
Academic activities at both public primary and secondary schools in the FCT were yesterday paralysed as pupils and students were turned back home by the striking teachers who are protesting over non-payment of their arrears and promotion.
City News had reported that the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), at the end of its emergency meeting late Wednesday, called for a five-day warning strike beginning from today.
They said the six area councils’ chairmen, as well as the FCT Administration, had failed to pay their members’ promotion arears.
A parent, Mrs Gladys Ayuba, who came to drop her kids at LEA Primary School, Kayarda in Kuje, was asked by a teacher to take them back home.
Mrs Ayuba, while speaking with City News, lamented that the strike would affect the learning of the children, saying there was the need for government to enter into dialogue with the teachers and settle their entitlements.
Another parent in Kubwa, Muhammad Ali, said, “Honestly I can’t entirely blame the teachers for not adopting other options, the problem lies with the government which has been playing with the settlement of the arrears.’’
A teacher, Simon Markus, said they decided to comply with the directive of NUT because of the non-payment of their arrears despite repeated pleadings to relevant authorities.
Reacting to the strike, the Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Alhaji Adamu Mustapha, who is also the ALGON chairman in the FCT, expressed displeasure with the union.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello yesterday 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 Minister informed the union members that the efforts will be made to pay all the promotion benefit arrears of the teachers before the end of the year, following the Permanent Secretary’s submission that all arrears for 2016 had already been paid and those for 2017 were scheduled for payment between November and December of 2021.
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.
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”