By Laleye Dipo
As schools reopened throughout Niger State on Monday, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state has welcomed the development but asked the state government to go further by making the school environment safe for teachers and students.
This is just as the state government has promised to discuss with private school owners over their decision to resume for the first term of the 2019/2020 academic year contrary to the directive of the government.
The state NUT Chairman, Ibrahim Umar, who made this known in Minna on Monday said government should provide equipment for all schools to make the institutions safe for everyone.
Umar, who was speaking at the ceremonies marking this year’s World Teachers Day, said: “The union equally wishes to call on the state government to consider teachers in the ongoing distribution of palliatives in cushioning the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.”
The NUT chairman also reminded the state government that several teachers in both primary and secondary schools in the state are yet to be paid their September 2020 salaries “occasioned by the ongoing screening exercise which the report is yet to be submitted to government”, adding that: “It is disheartening to equally note that primary school teachers are owed July and September 2020 salaries in addition to the outstanding salaries of four months owed newly recruited primary school teachers.”
He said the union welcomed the reintroduction of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), but advised that the government and the Pension Board “should carry out their statutory roles towards the attainment of the aims and objectives of the scene as this will checkmate all the challenges identified by the union”.
Declaring the event opened, the Commissioner for Education, Hajia Hannatu Jibrin Salihu, said government is disturbed by reports that private school proprietors are asking parents to pay the schools fees of their wards for the first term of the current academic session.
Salihu said government believed that the private school owners should sympathise with parents most of whom have been out of jobs for the period of the coronavirus induced lockdown.
The commissioner, while congratulating teachers on the celebration of the World Teachers Day, said government will continue to provide favourable environment for them to perform their official assignments.