The national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) is begging for clemency for the sacked members of the union in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.
They are asking the state governor, Mr Ibikunle Amosun to temper justice with mercy.
At a press briefing in Abeokuta, the capital of the state, the national president of the union and other executive members condemned the actions of the dismissed union members.
They were sacked for their alleged misconduct during the 2016 world Teachers Day celebration in the state
The chairman of the union in the state, Mr Dare Ilekoya, was dismissed alongside 16 others while 19 others were suspended by the state government in line with the recommendations of a panel of inquiry that looked into their alleged misconduct and act of indiscipline.
”The national leadership of the NUT condemn this unfortunate development in its entirety, as it did not conform with the traditions and modus operandi of the celebration,” the national president noted, while putting forward his pleas.
Begging for clemency, the national president said: “As a responsible organisation, we wish to apologise on behalf of our officers and members and ask for clemency from the governor of the state.
“We plead with the governor to grant them pardon, recall and reinstate them to their duty,” he requested.
Ogun State government has approved the dismissal of the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Akeem Ambali, his vice and the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr Dare Ilekoya, and 14 others.
The dismissal was contained in a report of a panel of inquiry set up to investigate the alleged misconduct of executive members of the NUT on the 2016 World Teachers Day celebration in Abeokuta.
Similarly, 16 officials of the union were also suspended for their roles in the conduct of the celebration.
The recommendations of the panel signed by the Head of Service, Mr Sola Adeyemi, was approved by the state government for immediate implementation.
A source also said the government had set up an administrative panel of inquiry to look into complaints received from concerned members of the public against the affected officers for their alleged involvement in various acts of misconduct and contravention of extant regulations during the celebration.
The NLC chairman, who was until his dismissal a Deputy Director, Community and Social Development in Sagamu Local Government, was alleged to have been the brain behind the political campaign rally during the celebration.
He was said to have made inflammable and scandalous remarks against the state government, which could have triggered a breach of peace in the state.
The workers were dismissed from service having been found guilty of contravening the Public Service Rules 04401, 04421 (c&d) and 04406 (a).
Those dismissed were A.O Oshin, Nola Balogun, Eniola Atiku, Solaru.O, Adebanjo.T, Akinola.A.S, Oyolola .S.A, Obafemi. O.B, Ogunsola Peter, Akinlade.S.A, Christopher.T.A,Ogunrombi A.A, Azeez.K.I and Taiwo A.O.
Those suspended include Odusanya S.A, Comrade Akapo, Adegbesan J.O, Adelami S.I, Obadara O, Ogunnuga O.A, Ayokambi T.A, Tijani A.A, Adegbesan J.O, Idowu A.O, Olaifa O.A, Bayo Lasore, Ahmodu S.A, Oludotun Oliyide, Tijani Y.A, Awode I.A, Dada O.A and Adesanya Abiola.
The state government subsequently directed appropriate agencies of the state including the Ogun State Local Government Service Commission, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) to implement the recommendations with immediate effect.
The national leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has warned against the non-payment of salaries and other entitlements of teachers in most Nigerian states.
The NUT President, Micheal Olukoya, gave the warning on Tuesday during an emergency National Executive Council meeting of the union in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.
He stated that such situation, if not properly addressed, could lead to an industrial dispute.
Mr Olukoya described the situation where teachers in some states were not being paid their salaries as totally unacceptable.
He appealed to the government at level to take the welfare of teachers in the country more seriously and ensure that their welfare was given proper attention in the interest of education development in Nigeria.
The NUT President equally expressed displeasure with the autonomy granted to the local governments in the management of primary school teachers’ salaries, rather than allowing the Universal Basic Education Board in each state to perform such function as enshrined in the law.
He urged the Federal Government to recruit only qualified teachers it promised to employ in 2016, noting that anything short of the right requirement for those employed might jeopardise the future of young Nigerians.
Olukoya further voiced his support for the ongoing strike by teachers in Bayelsa State as he pleaded with the state government to settle the six months unpaid teachers’ salaries.
The NUT members, on their part, emphasised that that the role of teachers to national development was one that could not be toyed with by any government.
They asked the Federal and state governments to urgently address all outstanding issues that could lead to any industrial action.
Educationists in Bayelsa State say the Universal Basic Education (UBE) has not done as much as was expected in the state.
Although they lauded the programme, the academics believe the pitiable condition of the government-owned public schools had led to an increase in the number and patronage of private- own schools in Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.
They alleged that the involvement of politicians in the implementation process had brought the education sector to a state of decay.
The educationists further requested for an immediate intervention, with special reference to the primary and secondary schools in the oil-rich state.
A former State Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr Alabo Erewari, lamented that the UBE in Bayelsa State was not effective.
He noted that the state had been selective in its interpretation of the programme, stressing that it has not comprehensively implemented the programme.
The Principal of Agudama Comprehensive High School in Agudama-Ekpetiama, Mrs Akanyo Dorcas, also said that schools in Bayelsa State were now in a worse situation.
Channels Television crew which visited some of the primary and secondary schools in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, said that the structures were in dire need of renovation.
The UBE programme, which was launched by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on September 30, 1999, was intended to be universal, free, and compulsory.
The goal of the programme is to provide functional, universal, and quality education for all Nigerians irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, occupation, or location.
The UBE programme was implemented in Bayelsa State to significantly improve the education deficit in the state.
Public Schools across Osun State finally resumed on Monday after the long break due to the Ebola Virus Disease scare.
The holiday was also extended based on the directive of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Headquarters to ensure that all necessary protective equipment are supplied to the school.
Channels Television correspondent reports that while only few schools were seen using the infrared thermometer to check the status of the pupils, others did not have the thermometer as students were seen going in freely without any check.
Although no wash-hand basin was sighted in any of the schools visited, the principal of one of the secondary schools, who spoke to us off camera, confirmed that the State Government had provided the required protective materials but they would be brought out for appropriate use.
In the meantime, efforts to reach the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Saka Adesiyan, was not fruitful as he was said to be out of town.
The students have, however, settled down for serious work in most of the schools to make up for lost weeks.
All public and private schools in Kaduna State on Monday resumed for another academic session in compliance with the Federal Government’s directive that schools should re-open for classes on September 22.
Although the State Government on Saturday promised to provide Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) test kits in public and private schools ahead of the September 22 resumption date, Channels TV correspondent who visited some public and private schools in the state capital reports that majority of them are yet to get the kits, only few schools got the thermometer testing kit and sanitisers.
At Government Day Secondary School Doka, in Kaduna North Local government area, two thermometers were provided for testing the temperature of returning students and teachers, while the school management said that it was yet to get the hand washing basins, sanitisers and hand gloves.
It was also a similar scenario at some other private schools visited by Channels Television.
The September 22 resumption date, as directed by the Federal Government, had generated arguments with the leadership of Nigerian Union of Teachers which demanded that government must provide all the necessary equipment on ground to ensure their safety and the students’ before they would resume for classes.
Their fear had been to avoid being infected with the Ebola virus disease. To douse this fear, the Kaduna State Government assured the teachers that 6,000 thermometers, sanitisers and hand gloves had been procured by the state Ministry of Education for onward distribution to the over 6,000 schools across the state.
However, the non availability of these testing kits in most of the schools has raised questions on the safety of the students and teachers who have already resumed for classes without being tested.
For example, at a particular school, pupils were asked to wash their hands inside a small bowl, without sanitisers. The proprietor, however, promised to get the items ready before the close of work, with other private school owners also saying they would go ahead to procure the testing kits instead of waiting endlessly for government.
While the State Government said it has spent a whooping N116 million for the purchase of the Ebola testing kits, many are asking the government to ensure that these kits reach all the schools before the second day of resumption to avoid any outbreak of the disease in the state.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Sunday announced Monday, October 8, as the new date for resumption of schools in the State for academic work.
He said that the one week extension from Monday 22 would be used to conclude the distribution of personal hygiene and other preventive materials against Ebola infection in all the schools.
Making the announcement at a meeting with teachers of public schools in the State at the LTV Blue Roof Hall, Governor Fashola said that the October 8 date was arrived at by the State Executive Council after considering the fact that the Eid-El-Fitri public holidays was already around the corner and that it would not be ideal to break the school programme again soon after resumption.
The Governor explained in an interview later, “Schools re-open tomorrow (Monday, September 22) but for the purpose of preparing the schools and tidying up loose ends and then instead of having the children resuming and then breaking up for Eid, let the Eid period run then we start full blast.
“That is what I and my colleagues have worked on all night and that is what you are likely to see across the schools going forward.”
Addressing the capacity audience of hundreds of teachers of Lagos schools, including Principals, Vice-Principals, Tutors General, Head Teachers and their deputies as well as Executive members of the State’s Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers and other education stakeholders, Fashola reiterated that the Ebola Virus Disease has been contained in the State and there was no need for anyone to fear.
The Governor, who identified with the anxiety of the teachers as genuine, however, said the state has reached the point where the Government must take a decision on when to open the schools. He added, “We can compare and contrast what is the experience in other states; those experiences can only guide us, they cannot bind us.”
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, had assured the teachers that the Ebola Virus Disease had been finally contained and there was no case of the disease in the state, adding that necessary preventive materials against the disease had been sent to the Education District offices for distribution to the schools.
Such materials, she said, include drums of water with taps and buckets as well as liquid soap for hand washing, hand gloves, thermo-scans, sanitizers and so on, adding that if the fear was about contacting the disease in the schools, the teachers need not to entertain such fears.
She confirmed that in the last two weeks, the Ministry of Health had engaged in training teachers from all Lagos schools to ensure that they have the right information about the disease, adding that within the period, Government officials have also been meeting with stakeholders as well as Contact Officers on Ebola in preparation for the resumption of the schools.
Assuring the teachers that those who have been trained, including the Contact Officers, know and have the information of what to do in the case of any suspected Ebola case, the Special Adviser told them, “Teachers please trust the Government that it will not want you to go back to school except that it has put necessary things in place to ensure your safety.”
The Chairman of the State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Adesegun Raheem, in his remarks, said that the teachers were only anxious to know when the preventive materials which Government promised would reach all the schools.
He added that the executive council of the union had scheduled a meeting to take a decision on the issue before the invitation of the Governor’s meeting came to them.
Expressing the readiness of the teachers to return to school, Mr Raheem said that even if it became necessary to shift the date in order to get the preventive materials across to all Lagos schools, the teachers would work to catch up on any lost academic time when the schools finally resume.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers Lagos Chapter Chairman, Adesegun Raheem, has reiterated the union’s resolve that teachers would only resume school on September 22, as directed by the Federal Government, if preventive materials to reduce the risk of contacting the Ebola Virus Disease, were provided.
Appearing as a guest on Sunrise Daily on Friday, Raheem insisted that nothing had changed about the chapter’s decision to resume school on September 22.
“We actually spoke with the government and we reminded them of the meeting they had with the Minister for Education on the safety requirements and preventive gadgets that must be put in place in our schools, before school resumes,” he said, noting that “if those things are there, we will resume”.
He disclosed that a government official had contacted him to let him know that some of the gadgets would be distributed on Friday.
“We have sent our delegation down there to look into it and if they are distributed and are in their actual number, in the normal quantity, then we would call the head office to inform them and they will give us the go-ahead to actually resume.”
He noted that the Union had initially asked the Federal Government to constitute a stakeholders meeting which will have all those concerned in attendance and then, a comprehensive solution can be found to the problem.
“If they had prevented the situation from the beginning, the situation we are (in) now wouldn’t have been.”
He noted that the Lagos State government had provided some of the materials needed with further promise to provide the remaining facilities by Friday.
“They said they would provide some today. There’s still time. Today is Friday. Monday is about three days away. If they are provided and in their right quantity,” we will resume.
He stressed that hand gloves, sanitizers, running water, soap and infrared thermometer scanners are the major items that have been requested for.
Before now, the moment a child tells you, in school, he or she is sick, the first thing you want to do is feel the temperature and medical officials have told us that it is important that when somebody is sick, don’t touch. Don’t even move close, until that person is certified to be negative of Ebola Virus.”
He noted that the teachers and students also need enlightenment concerning the disease. This, he said would curb the spread of the fear of Ebola.
According to him, the Lagos state government had conducted about three seminars and some teachers were invited.
He also said that teachers have been designated as emergency desk officers in some schools.
There are about 1300 primary schools and about 500 secondary schools, owned by government in Lagos.
Lagos State Government, mindful of the pivotal role of Education and the critical role of teachers in the development and economic growth of any nation, says it would continue to be responsive to their welfare and that of other members of its workforce.
The State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, said this while briefing newsmen at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, on Thursday.
She disclosed that this conviction of Government has been the driving force behind its huge investment in Education as well as training and welfare of teachers in its quest to become a model of excellence in Education in the African Continent.
She said that in order to provide qualitative education to the citizenry as well as overcome some of the challenges facing the Education sector; the State Government recently employed no fewer than 1,775 new teachers into the system as secondary school teachers.
She reiterated that Government has been doing this in the face of the limited resources available to it against the background of the competing demands for the resources, adding that Lagos remains perhaps the only state that has consistently and doggedly paid its workforce including teachers up to date and when due.
The Commissioner debunked the insinuations in some quarters to the effect that Lagos State teachers were not happy with the Government, restating that one of the hallmarks of the present administration has been its responsiveness and priority attention to the welfare of its workforce.
The Commissioner said teachers in the state are happy “because before now they did not have the kind of empowerment that they have been provided with” adding that with the EKO Education Project, teachers in the State have been empowered and given some level of accountability which is unprecedented in the nation’s Education history.
Assuring of the State Government’s willingness to complete payment of the 27.5 percent Special Teacher’s Allowance, Mrs. Oladunjoye said that Government was working assiduously with a view to paying the balance of the Special Allowance to the teachers.
“Government therefore craves the understanding of its teachers on this, bearing in mind that government will not hesitate to pay the balance of the allowance as soon as possible. Suffice it to say that the State Government is also determined to make the teaching environment and learning process very conducive to enhance efficiency and effectiveness”, the Commissioner said.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, who was also at the briefing, said that the State Government enjoys a robust relationship with the teachers, adding that the Government could not afford to toy with the welfare of such an important player in its Education sector.
The Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, who was also at the briefing, said that while the State Government was not joining issues with any publication, with the advent of new theories in political circles and the possibilities of bandwagon effect, there was a need to put issues in proper perspective.
Later in an interview after the briefing, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr. Segun Raheem, said that the NUT was not just a labour union but also a professional group which knows how to go about its agitations, stressing that such agitations does not always lead to anger.
He added that from the way the discussion was going along with the Government, there was hope that the State Government would pay the balance of the allowance.
He said that there have been commitments from the State Government on the allowance which has seen the payment of an initial 9.2percent and later another 9 percent with the remaining 11.5 percent being expected.
Raheem said that two months ago, the NUT wrote to the State Government on the balance and that the matter was presented before the Joint Negotiation Council and a pay policy committee was set up with the teachers also invited to present their case, which it did and a subcommittee was set up to look into the financial implication.
The briefing was also attended by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Establishment, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Sade Jaji.
Nigerian teachers have gone on strike and staged rallies nationwide on Thursday in protest against the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram sect and the killing of nearly as many teachers during its insurgency.
The President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Micheal Olukoya, said that the sect had killed 173 teachers over five years.
In Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, where the insurgency has been most intense, around 40 teachers marched down a street to the office of Governor Kashim Shettima, chanting “bring back our girls” and holding placards saying “vulnerable schools should be fenced”.
Governor Shettima came to the gates of the compound to meet the teachers, who were clothed in black union vests over their long, flowing traditional robes and were escorted by the military.
In Lagos State, around 350 teachers gathered at the Gani Fawehinmi Park.
Public schools in the nation’s capital city, Abuja, however, remained opened in defiance of the directive by the Nigeria Union of Teachers.
Some teachers who spoke to Channels Television said that they were not issued with letters directing the closure of schools.
This follows two days of bloody attacks in the country, in which nearly 150 people have been killed.
Over 500 members of the Imo State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers have taken to the streets of Owerri the Imo State capital, protesting the abduction of the Chibok girls by the Boko Haram sect.
This is sequel to the nationwide directive of the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers to close all primary and secondary schools in the country in protest of the abduction of over 200 girls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State and the killing of over 170 teachers by the Boko Haram sect during different attacks.
Leading the protesters to the Government House in Owerri the Imo State capital, the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Imo State chapter, Dr Cletus Okeke, described the actions of the Boko Haram sect as abominable and a curse to humanity.
He urged the Federal Government to do everything possible to bring back the girls alive and also immortalise or compensate families of teachers who have lost their lives to the evil actions of the Boko Haram terrorists.
The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, while addressing the protesters, said that Government at all levels would not relent until the girls were returned to their parents.
He urged all Nigerians to unite irrespective of differences and support the Federal Government in the quest to search for the girls.