By Adibe Emenyonu
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State chapter has advised parents/guardians to keep their children and wards out of public schools on Monday, February 1, 2021, insisting that its indefinite strike still persists.
The union said the strike will still go on pending when the issues in dispute between it and the state government are favourably resolved, adding that teachers are resolute in ensuring that “freedom is now or never”.
The Edo State Government last Thursday, in a statement signed by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, ordered public primary school teachers and school heads to resume academic activities unfailingly on Monday, February 1, 2021 or risk forfeiture of their salaries.
The state government, which threatened to apply “No work, No Pay” policy, was in reaction to the NUT last Wednesday’s directive which ordered all its members to ignore the February 1 resumption date proposed by the state government while negotiations to resolve the strike continued.
However, in a statement Sunday signed by the state NUT Chairman, Pius Okhueleigbe; Assistant Secretary General, Moni Mike Modesty Itua: and three others in Benin City, the union insisted that it has not called off the indefinite strike embarked upon since January 18, 2021.
The statement also urged public primary school heads, teachers, parents, pupils and the general public to disregard what it discribed as “all forms of threats, blackmail, intimidation, announcements, pronouncements and moves from any quarter, aimed at discrediting the indefinite strike action”.
It further noted that none of the anti-democratic tactics will alter the unshakeable resolve of the union and her members in ensuring that the teachers’ 10-point demands are met by the state government.
“The attention of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State Wing has been drawn to some pronouncements purportedly made by the Edo State Government with regards to the ongoing indefinite strike action embarked on by public primary school teachers and school heads in Edo State since 18th January, 2020.
“Wherein, it has been reported that government has issued a threat of ‘No Work, No Pay’, amongst others, to striking teachers with effect from 1st February, 2021.
“Ordinarily, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State wing would not have bothered to respond to the said pronouncements because they were directed at ‘National Union of Teachers’, a body unknown to the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but considering some parts of the pronouncements that bear teachers issues presently in dispute between NUT, Edo State Wing and Edo State Government.
“The indefinite strike action by public primary school heads and teachers which started on the 18th day of January, 2021 is still very much in force, hence by Monday, February 1, 2021, it will continue unhindered in the (18) eighteen local government areas of the state,” NUT stated.
It however called on all well-meaning citizens and institutions in the state to prevail on the state government to meet the demands of teachers instead of embarking on arm-twisting tactics and deploying unproductive shenanigans.