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FCT teachers' strike: Bello meets with NUT

Nov, 2021 | By Anthony Ogunleye, Felix Durumbah and Darlington Omotoso | ||

Though the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) met last week with FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who chaired a meeting between both parties on moves to resolve the lingering five-day warning strike by teachers in public schools, indications were, as of last Monday, that lack of Area Council input is delaying the possible resolution of the industrial action.

The teachers embarked on the action to press home demands for enhanced security in schools and payment of arrears of promotion benefits for teachers. FCT Administration (FCTA) and the leadership of FCT NUT met in the office of the Minister. The meeting was attended by the senior management officers of FCTA and heads of some security agencies in FCT.

The NUT leadership was briefed by heads of security agencies in the FCT made up of the FCT Commissioner of Police Mr Babaji Sunday, State Director of Department of State Security (DSS), Mr Ado Muazu and the State Commandant of Nieria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Peter Maigari, who said measures were being taken to improve the security situation in schools.

On the strike action embarked for the payment of arrears of promotion benefits for teachers for 2016-2018, the Minister informed the union members that efforts will be made to pay all the arrears of the teachers before the end of the year, following the Permanent Secretary's submission that all arrears for 2016 had already been paid and those for 2017 were scheduled for payment between November and December, 2021.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, the NUT Chairman, Comrade Stephen Knabayi said that the union appreciated the efforts of security agencies and assurances from FCT Minister that all efforts will be made to protect the lives and properties of teachers and students within FCT. He also expressed appreciation to the Minister for the pronouncement on the payment of promotion arrears of 2017 and 2018 before the end of the year.

Speaking on the return of teachers to the classroom, the NUT chairman said: “From this meeting and from all the resolutions, we will go back without waste of time.” He also appealed to the FCT Minister to intervene in the payment of arrears of Local Education Authority (LEA) teachers, who are being administered by the six Area Councils in FCT. In a similar vein, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola said: “It was agreed that for us in the FCT, the allowances of our teachers will be paid for 2017, since 2016 had already been paid and that consideration should also be given to prioritizing payment for those in the teaching profession of 2018 before the end of the year.''

Also in attendance at the meeting were Secretary, FCT NUT, Margaret Jethro; Director of Human Resources Management, FCTA, Dr Mohammed Bashir; Acting Secretary for Education, FCTA Mr. Abdulrazak Leramo; Dr Abdulateef Bello, Acting Director of Security, FCTA, Dr Abdulateef Bello; and other senior officials of FCTA. However, telephone calls put through to NUT FCT Chairman, Comrade Knabayi, by Abuja Digest Weekly to ascertain when teachers will return to classes in the light of the meeting with FCT Minister, yielded a fresh development.

Rising from a meeting, Comrade Knabayi told Abuja Digest Weekly that the warning strike continues and will end on Wednesday, 24 November this year as Area Council Chairmen had not reached the union to resolve issues at stake. Asked if the NUT had met with the Council bosses yet, Knabayi said: ''There has been no meeting with Area Council Chairmen. They have not invited us to any meeting on the matter. Are we to beg them for a meeting? The Area Council Chairmen have not called us for any meeting yet.''

The NUT boss stated that as things stand, the warning strike would continue and end on the appointed day, after which the union will meet and decide on the next course of action---whether resort to full blown strike or any other actions. Several telephone calls made to Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) FCT chapter, Hon. Adamu Mustapha Danze, who is also Chairman, Gwagwalada Area Council, repeatedly reported that his line was switched off. A text message seeking to get his side to the development at hand was not responded to, as of press time last Monday.


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