The Nigeria Union of Teachers on Friday commended some state governors for their efforts in ensuring settlement of salary arrears owed teachers in their states.
The Secretary-General of the union, Dr. Mike Ike-Ene, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
Ike-Ene said that the leadership of the NUT at different times met with the governors of Bayelsa, Ekiti, Abia, Osun, and Delta States among others that owed salary arrears and they gave their assurances to settle the arrears.
According to the NUT scribe, we have been dialoguing with the governors on modalities to clear the backlog of salary arrears.
“The truth is that most state governments that owed our teachers have conceded to take up their responsibilities and they have been discussing with our state councils.
“Like that of Bayelsa, at the end of our stay there, the governor gave us his words and we were able to sign an agreement with the government of Bayelsa.
“We are happy to report that there has been no adverse report, there has been no renege on their agreement and we want to commend the Bayelsa government for keeping fit and faith,” he said.
Also, Ike-Ene said that the union also intervened in Abia state and the government signed an agreement with the NUT, stressing, “the state government has been living up to expectation.’’
He added that the Governor of Ekiti, Mr Ayodele Fayose, also admitted to owing salaries and showed the union the state government’s strategy intended to liquidate the debt.
“The governor in the agreement signed with the union pledged that by the time he leaves office he will not owe anybody one kobo as far as workers are concerned.
“We as a union are happy with that kind of commitment.”
Ike-Ene said that states like Imo, Osun, and Delta where teachers were receiving their salaries in percentage, the state governments had assured the union of their various efforts to pay the balance of the arrears they owed.
“I want to commend all the state governors and governments for being proactive to our request.
“I want to commend the state governments that have accepted it as their responsibilities to settle all outstanding arrears.”
The scribe, however, said that the only state where the union was having a challenge was in Benue.
According to him, the union was displeased at the way its members were being treated in terms of payment of salary and allowances.
He said the union had been sympathetic towards the government over the killings in the state, however, that should not stop the government from paying teachers’ salary arrears.
“We empathise with the governor over the incessant killings in Benue as at that time but a sequel to that it does not mean that the apparatus of government in Benue has not been running.
”We were so surprised that instead of the government or the governor of Benue addressing the backlog of the salaries they owed, they jumped eleven months and started paying from January.
“We discovered that even the January and February they are paying are staggered, they are not paying uniformly.
“We told the government of Benue asking passionately that when payment is done, it should be done uniformly not by staggering the payment because at the end of the day the moment you skip some it would take centuries for them to recover their money.”
Ike-Ene said the union had given the Benue government a date to begin to address the arrears, however, failure to do so would result in teachers withdrawing their services,” he warned.