By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) on Tuesday called on governors that was owing teachers salary arrears to use their remaining months in office to pay off the arrears.
The Secretary-General of the Union, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, raised the concern in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja ahead of the World Teachers’ Day.
The World Teachers Day with the theme: “Teachers at the heart of education recovery’ is celebrated on Oct. 5, every year to appreciate teachers for their great deeds.
Ike-Ene said that a good number of state governors owe primary school teachers and secondary schools months of salary arrears.
“Many of these teachers have lamented over the inability and irregularities of the state to pay their salaries as and when due following the current economic situation in the country.
“Some state governments owe primary school teachers a backlog of salaries ranging from four to 18 months,’’ he said.
He, however, commended the state governors who had been committed in paying teachers’ salaries as and when due.
The secretary general also encouraged teachers to keep on working hard not minding their salary scale.
He urged government at all levels to provide the enabling environment for teachers to function optimally.
“When a teacher enters a classroom, there are certain things the teacher is looking out for and when these things are there he or she can perform optimally,” he said.
On the new salary scale for teachers, the secretary general said that the union and the Federal Government are still working towards its implementation.
Ike-Ene said that the new teachers’ retirement age from 60 to 65 years and 35 to 40 years of service had attained 90 per cent implementation.
“One of the biggest promises had been signed; the issue of 65 and 40 years, the increase of teachers’ service years or retirement age has been signed.
“The Federal Government has implemented it likewise some states but the obstacle there is gazetting. Ever since the president signed it, it has become an act,’’ he said.
He, however, said that gazetting the policy would give it a number and then it would be enshrined into law that one can make reference to.
Ike-Ene, therefore, urged the government to expedite action on the gazette as that might be the only way the union could engage the state governments to do the needful.
He also called for the upward review of education budget, saying that it was the only way the country would measure up with developed countries.
“We should be serious with the various budgets we give to education because if the budgetary allocation to education is huge, it will go a long way to enhance performance.
“Also the society needs to do more for the teachers, create initiatives that will motivate teachers for effective service delivery,” he added.(NAN)