Primary school teachers in Taraba State have raised concern over the non-payment of their salaries for months, which has subjected them to untold hardships.
The state, which has about 22,000 teachers in primary schools across its 16 local government areas, is said to owe teachers in its employment five months salaries.
- Buhari’s govt has recovered N1trn looted funds – APC leaders
- The Brief: Fired ministers; Zamfara abduction; IPOB bombs
Daily Trust also gathered that many of the teachers have not been promoted for over 12 years.Those that were promoted have not had the promotion implemented to enable them to get the increment in their monthly take-home pay.
The teachers, who said they have made public their complaints severally through the leadership of the state branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and through the media to make the authorities concerned address their plights, lamented that nothing has been done.
Daily Trust reports that earlier this year, the teachers, while on a peaceful demonstration in Jalingo, were attacked, beaten and chased away by thugs.
A group of concerned teachers, in an attempt to let the larger society, especially parents in Taraba, know the difficulty they are going through, therefore, addressed a press conference at their union’s secretariat located along Donga Road in Jalingo recently.
The leader of the concerned teachers, Amina Danladi, said it has become necessary for teachers in the state to let members of the public know the suffering of primary school teachers in the state.
Danladi, who said teachers were not paid their salaries for the past five months, further disclosed that apart from non-payment of salaries, primary the teachers have not been promoted for the past 12 years, while those promoted were yet to start enjoying their promotions in monetary terms as the exercise was not implemented by the authority concerned.
She said the attitude of the government to primary school teachers showed it did not attach priority to education at that level in the state.
She also claimed that instructional materials such as registers, scheme of work and chalk were not provided to schools, a situation that makes teaching very difficult.
She noted that teachers are a vital component in the education system at any level.
Danladi, therefore, called on the national secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to intervene in the issue.
A teacher, Mr. Obadia Ayuba, lamented that they were denied their salaries for months without any explanation from the authorities concerned, adding that there was no welfare for primary school teachers in the state even though they operate under difficult situations.
According to him, most of the teachers earn N16,000 to N30,000 monthly and many among them have families and stay in rented houses, so their salaries could hardly meet their needs.
Another teacher, Mr. Sunday Mubi, told Daily Trust that teachers in the state were facing serious neglect from the government.
He said apart from the unpaid salaries which only God knows when they would be paid, they are not enjoying any welfare scheme as their counterparts in the state civil service.
Mr Mubi also stated that teachers are working in frustration because they do not enjoy promotions even when they are due for one.
For Muhammadu Yakubu, primary school teachers are treated as second class citizens and many parents are not willing to give their daughters in marriage to them in the state because they consider them as poor people.
“Our salary is poor. We are not paid salaries as and at when due, and neither is our promotion. That is why many people look down on primary school teachers. You also hardly get anybody willing to give you a loan.
“The banks too are not giving primary school teachers loans because they only give loans and salary advances to workers whose salaries are constant,” he said.
Musa Ahmadu, another primary school teacher, told Daily Trust that many teachers were ejected by their landlords because they were unable to pay their rent.
He said primary education in the state will continue to suffer because of lack of good welfare.
“Anybody you see teaching in primary school is there because he doesn’t have any option. There are many teachers who have left and they are doing very well in their new places of work, “ he said.
“Look at us here; how many of us come with our personal car?” a teacher, Hudu Sani, asked.
He said any person teaching in a primary school in Taraba State had no option, adding that it seems Taraba State Government has no interest in primary education.
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of Taraba State Primary Education Management Board, Mr Yakubu Agbaizu, did not pick calls and did not reply to text messages sent to him on the issue.