From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Benue State has thrown its weight behind the agitation for primary education in the country to remain under the funding of the state government instead of being handed to the local government.
State Chairman of NUT, Comrade Yiaseh Michael, in his address during a protest march to Government House in Makurdi and the State House of Assembly appealed to the state government or Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to take over the payment of primary school teachers salaries as first line charge from the federation account to save primary education from total collapse.
Michael, while noting that the NUT was also not totally against local government autonomy however posited that the union was particularly concerned about the possibility of scrapping the state joint local government account.
“The NUT is not totally against local government autonomy but the union is concerned about the likelihood of scrapping the state joint local government account which would mean taking primary education back to the dark pre-1994 era.”
He disclosed that teachers in the state were currently being owed several months salaries like their counterparts in many states of the country due to the inability of the local councils to provide the funds needed for salary payment, a situation which he maintained, had created demoralisation and hopelessness among the teachers.