by Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
Nigeria Union of Teachers has accused Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, of trying to score cheap political point by announcing the reduction of his salary and his aides.
Congratulating workers for the May Day Celebration, the union urged workers to remain resolute in contributing to the unity, progress and development of Nigeria to address the security challenges.
In a statement signed by the NUT President, Michael Olukoya and Secretary, Ikpe Obongmade, the union said he saw the action of the governor as self seeking because he had refused to pay minimum wage to teachers.
The statement read, “The National leadership of Nigeria Union of Teachers wishes to express strong reservations to the feeble and undesirable commitment made by the Benue State Governor Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam that His salary and that of all political officers has been reduced by 25 per cent to make marginal increase to salaries of primary school teachers.
“We view this unsustainable commitment by the governor as self seeking, which is aimed at scoring cheap political point without addressing the major issue. We call on the general public to disregard such political grandstanding.
“The demand of Nigeria Union of Teachers is the full implementation of the National Minimum wage as applicable to all public servants in Benue State without exception to Primary school teachers in the interest of justice and fairness.”
NUT said it was immoral and unjustifiable for Suswam to deny primary school teachers the National Minimum wage on the pretense that the state government lacked the fund while others in the same public service were enjoying the wage increase since 2011.
“Currently, pupils of public primary schools in Benue State have been out of school since October 2013. With schools currently resuming for the third term, these children who are still at home are on the verge of losing a complete academic session and this seems not to bother the State government.
“We stand by the memorandum of understanding signed on June 14, 2013 with the Benue State Government on the implementation of the National Minimum to primary school teachers in the State.”
The union said the various strikes in the education sector portends great danger, urging President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene.