In a petition dated August 4 and signed by the SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said that “SERAP had carried out a survey and interviewed hundreds of teachers in the Federal Government Colleges across the country and that the investigations revealed that while many of the teachers interviewed had been promoted to a higher salary scale, their adjusted salaries, which accrued as a result of the promotions, had not been paid for more than 8 years”.
The organisation also said it had documents which suggested that the affected teachers’ salaries and benefits were being diverted by senior officials in the Ministry of Education and with the complicity of some officials in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The SERAP expressed concern that the situation, apart from constituting a violation of the teachers’ right to work, will impact negatively on the morale of the affected teachers, thus undermining the effective discharge of their teaching responsibilities to millions of Nigerian children.
“We believe that teachers will perform better if they are paid their duly entitlements and benefits.
“We are bringing this matter to the attention of the Minister, so that he can order a thorough investigation into the allegations. The investigation should cover the last 10 years and it is necessary for the sake of transparency and accountability but also in the ultimate interest of the teachers at Federal Government Colleges and the students’ academic and educational progress,” the petition read.
The organisation further stressed that the outcome of the investigation should be made public and that anyone found to be responsible should be brought to justice according to due process.
It called for the payment of all the teachers’ outstanding salaries.
This is not the first time the SERAP has raised issues of corruption in the education sector. An earlier petition of the SERAP, alleging corruption and mismanagement of funds allocated for basic education in states of the Federation of Nigeria, led to the recovery by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission in October 2007 of more than 488 million Naira looted from state offices and headquarters of the Universal Basic Education Commission.
The case was subsequently taken to the ECOWAS Court, which pronounced that Nigerian children had a right to free education. However, since the judgement was delivered in November 2010, the government has neither acknowledged the judgement nor taken steps to implement the letter and spirit of the judgement.