By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Government has ordered the State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB) to recall all the teachers withdrawn from the service of the government.
It has also directed that the vacant teaching positions in the state should be identified and immediate action taken to recruit qualified teachers to fill the vacancies.
The Commissioner for Education, Hajia Hannatu Jibrin Salihu, made the directive known Monday at a meeting with officials of the state wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) following the 21-day ultimatum issued to government to address an 11-point demand that will improve the quality of education in the state.
The commissioner also said that it is only the NUT that the state government recognises as the umbrella body for teachers in primary and post primary institutions in the state.
Hajia Salihu, who was reacting to a letter purportedly signed by some 2,800 secondary school teachers advocating their withdrawal from the NUT and for the ministry to stop any deduction from their salaries as union dues, said: “As far as the government is concerned, it is only the NUT that is recognised. Our position is backed by the relevant labour laws.”
She advised those concerned to study the laws governing the operation of their unions, stressing that government “cannot be used to legalise any illegality”.
On the outstanding salaries of some primary school teachers, Hajia Salihu said a tripartite committee of the ministry, NSUBEB and Ministry of Local Government has been set up to look into the issue and proffer solution.
She therefore pleaded with the union to revisit its ultimatum since government has started addressing their demands, adding that the commitment of the government is to totally transform the education sector by making the teaching and learning environment conducive for all stakeholders.
Both the state Chairman of the NUT, Ibrahim Umar, and the Principal Assistant Secretary General, Labaran Garba, expressed gratitude to government for the steps taken so far but asked for quick action in the interest of everyone.
Commenting on the demand of some secondary school teachers, the union leaders associated themselves with the position of the government, adding that the union was not consulted before the demand was made.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the meeting, Umar said: “We will go back to our members and brief them, we cannot unilaterally withdraw the ultimatum given to government.”
Umar appealed to all teachers in the state to remain peaceful and continue to discharge their duties diligently in the overall interest of the education sector.