As most primary and secondary schools across the country prepare to resume academic activities as from Monday, January 8, pupils in Bayelsa State may have to remain in their homes for a while due to failure on the part of the state government to pay teachers several months’ salary arrears.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Bayelsa State Wing, Mr. Kalaama Toinpre, said on Thursday that while primary school teachers were being owed seven and a half months’ salaries, their colleagues in secondary schools had not been paid four and a half months’ salaries.
He said that the national office of the NUT had responded to the development by writing to inform the government that schools in Bayelsa might not open next week if it failed to settle the backlog of unpaid teachers’ salaries.
Toinpre, however, said as of the time of filing this report that the government had yet to react to the union’s request.
He said, “As I speak with you, the state government has not said anything about the situation. If it fails to pay these salary arrears, the schools will not resume for another term next week. That is part of the content of the letter from the national headquarters.
“The government still has not invited us to a dialogue. Apart from the salary arrears, we have to deal with another issue and it is about the N18,000 minimum wage arrears. Teachers have not been paid these arrears till today. Workers in other sectors have since received theirs.
“There are other issues, too. One of them has to do with the implementation of promotion.”
But, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, Bayelsa State, Mr. Onyinemia Ebredeni, said the salary arrears that the state government owed teachers in secondary schools were for 2016.
He said, “The government owes teachers in the state four and half months’ salary arrears for 2016. We are going to have a meeting with Governor Seriake Dickson today (Thursday). After the meeting, we will know how many months the government will be willing to pay us. We believe that after the meeting, something positive will happen.”