Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 23 June 2017 | 1,770 times
The Chairman of the Anambra State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr. Ifeanyi Ofodile, Thursday, said that academic activities in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria may be paralysed if the Federal Government fails to address issues of payment of teachers in the primary school system.
He made the disclosure while addressing members of the union at the Teachers House in Awka.
Ofodile stressed that the industrial dispute would arise from a plan to hand over the payment of primary school teachers in the country to Local Governments in the guise of Local Government autonomy.
He also said the union is not against local government autonomy but that primary school teachers’ salaries should not be put under local governments.
His address reads in part: “The renewed agitation for local government autonomy has made it imperative for the Nigeria Union of Teachers to sensitise stakeholders and the general public on the dangers inherent in handing over the affairs of primary education to respective local government councils should autonomy of local government be granted.
“The primary concern of the Nigeria Union of Teachers is not the issue of local government autonomy. We are of the firm belief that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which vests the onus of funding and management of primary education on states while the Local Government participation as interpreted by the Supreme Court should be upheld to save primary education from imminent collapse that may arise from Local Government autonomy.
“It is on this premise that the Supreme Court in the case of Attorney-General of the Federation Vs Attorney-General of Abia State and 35 others (2002) held that in so far as primary education is concerned, a local government council only participates with the State Government in its provision and maintenance.
“The court went further to hold that the function obviously remains that of the State Government.
“Concisely put, the state governments have constitutional and legislative responsibilities to provide and manage primary education.
“The NUT wishes to state in clear and unambiguous terms that the current constitutional arrangement under the 1999 Constitution for the provision and maintenance of primary education by State Governments should be sustained.”
Ofodile called on teachers in the state to converge in Awka on their uniform on June 28 for a street demonstration on the development, adding that similar protests would take place simultaneously nationwide.
He, however, said that if their stance is overlooked, the union will be left with no other option than to go back to the trenches.
“That’s the only language they understand in this part of the world,” he said.
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