From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Primary schools teachers in Benue State have joined their contemporaries across the country to rally in support of the local government autonomy and the attendant educational problems.
The teachers, who carried placards with some of the inscriptions reading; “Our children’s future must be secured”, “Local government councils do not have the capacity to pay primary’s teachers’ salaries”, “Payment of primary school teachers salaries must not be toyed with”, “We say no to the dark era on non-payment of salaries,” walked through the streets of Makurdi to the state House of Assembly and ended up at the Government House where they presented their position.
Speaking at the rally in Makurdi, State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Yiaseh Michael, while noting that the Union was not against local government autonomy, however, expressed worry about the fate of primary school teachers and primary education under the local government authority.
His words, “NUT’s worry about the autonomy remains that if the local government becomes autonomous, what is the guarantee that they will be able to adequately fund primary education in Nigeria? Who will/shall be responsible for the teachers’ salaries and welfare, so that they no longer suffer from non-payment of salaries and allowances?
Yiaseh posited that if education must move forward, primary education and primary school teachers should be put on first line charge by the Federal Government with respect to payment of teachers salaries and other allowances.
The state NUT boss also emphasised the need to officially hand over the funding of primary schools wholly to the state government including payment of their salaries and allowances.
While maintaining that the success of any system of education is hinged on proper planning, efficient administration and adequate funding, the NUT called for a clear and distinct layout responsibility for the efficient funding and management of primary education among the three tires of government.