From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Abia teachers, yesterday, defied government’s pleas and promises aimed at assuaging them to call off the industrial action they embarked upon since the resumption of the first term.
The teachers, under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Abia State branch, had embarked on the strike over the non-payment of arrears of salary and other emoluments.
The teachers vowed not to call off the strike until all salary arrears owed them were paid.
Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi-Kalu, in a chat last Friday, said the state government spent N1.1 billion to pay the November 2020 to February 2021 arrears of teachers’ salary.
He equally said the stated government had commenced payment of teachers salary based on the TSS.
The commissioner said there was no excuse teachers will give not to return to classrooms.
While admitting it might not be possible to pay all the arrears in one fell swoop, he said government was ready to pay them in piecemeal and urged NUT to call off the strike.
When Daily Sun visited some schools in Umuahia, the state capital, such as Ibeku High School, Amuzukwu Girls Secondary School and Amuzukwu Community Primary School, they were under lock.
A man at the gate of Ibeku High School, who refused to disclose his name, said no teacher came to the school yesterday.
Reports from Aba had it that teachers could not resume classes yesterday.
Pupils of Okigwe Road Primary School, who attended school yesterday, were reported to have been turned back as there were no teachers to take care of them.
When contacted on phone, NUT Chairman, Agwu Kalu Kizito, said he was in a meeting, adding that the shape things would take would be after the meeting.