The Niger State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Akayago Adamu Mohammed, has said that continuous closure of primary and secondary schools in Rafi, Shiroro, Mariga, Mashegu, Munya, Paikoro and Rijau local government areas of the state due to insecurity, is impacting negatively on the lives of pupils in the area.
Speaking at the 2022 World Teachers Day at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna, Mohammed said the union was concerned with the damage the activities of insurgents and bandits had done to the lives and and future of thousands of children who have been out of school for over two years.
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He said the state government should provide safe environment for the resumption of academic activities in the affected communities.
The chairman, who spoke on a number of challenges facing the teachers in the state, said the state was faced with the challenge of inadequate teachers, classrooms, late payment of teachers’ salary, adding that non-payment of backlog of salaries, allowance and deductions from teachers’ salaries had demoralised many teachers in the state. He said quick measures should be taken to motivate teachers.
He also said that while many teachers have retired or died, many others have left the teaching profession, calling on the state government to recruit more teachers with requisite qualifications.
“Teachers at both primary and post primary schools in the state still have outstanding annual increment promotions yet to be released and implemented. The primary school teachers had their last promotion since 2015, while their colleagues at the secondary section equally have outstanding promotion yet to be implemented,” he said.
The chairman, while calling on the state government to domesticate the new retirement age of 65 years or 40 years in service for teachers, lamented that the state owed some primary school teachers four months salary.
“In the same vein, primary school teachers also have outstanding 10 months balance of salaries occasioned by payment is salaries on percentages. We therefore use this medium to call on the state government to urgently do the needful by ensuring that the salaries of teachers are paid as and when due and balance of 10 months’ arrears of salary are paid in earnest,” he said.
The Chairman further revealed that lack of payment of retirement benefits to retired teachers by the state government had caused the retirees untold hardship while lack of adequate instructional materials in schools across the state had also hindered quality teaching and learning.
The Commissioner for Education, Hannatu Jibril Salihu, said government was making efforts to improve the working conditions of teachers in the state.
Some teachers were awarded with refrigerators, gas cookers and television sets for their outstanding performances in their respective schools.