Public Schools in Akwa Ibom State have been closed indefinitely as the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT) embark on a strike.
Teaching and learning activities in public primary and secondary schools across the 31 Local Government Areas were yesterday paralised over the strike by members of NUT in the state.
“It is very worrisome for the students in public schools to be left stranded abruptly like this, it shows how insensitive the government has become, especially considering the fact that children are the leaders of the future”, Ekpenyong Bassey, a parent told Newsmen at Uyo High School.
“How can a responsible government allow students to remain idle going into the crucial elections’ year where students are daily recruited into cultism to do the biddings of desperate politicians”, Grace Ufon, a parent, whose son is on the verge of writing his SSCE examinations at Four Towns Secondary School, Uyo, laments.
Parents impressed it on governor Udom Emmanuel to quickly address the major demands of the striking teachers for the sake of the younger generation.
The NUT embarked on the strike in protest over years of unpaid entitlements.
A statement by Comrade Victor Amirize, Senior State Secretary of the NUT reads:
“The NUT hereby orders all primary and secondary schools in public school to proceed on an indefinite strike action”, for the following reasons.
“Akwa Ibom state government teachers’ amnesty programme should be reopened to cover the teachers that were cut off during the last amnesty programme”.
Besides, the teachers are also demanding the appointment of teachers as Permanent Secretaries as well as the release of promotion examination results of teachers who attended the exercise as at 2020.
They maintained that the results should be released without recourse to a pass in the Administrative Professional Officers Compulsory Exami-nation because this was not demanded for at the point of the interview.
Other demands include, “Refund of 7 percent contributory pension to primary school teachers. Payment of gratuity/harmonisation of pension to retired teachers.
“Payment of 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 leave grant to primary school teachers”.
They are also demanding the payment promotion arrears for six years from 2011 to 2016 to primary schools teachers; and the release of 2017 and 2018 promotion exercise conducted by SUBEB as well as immediate commencement of 2019, 2020, 2021 promotion exercise.
Justifying the strike, NUT claimed that the state government could not address the demands of the teachers after 21 days and a subsequent seven-day ultimatum given by the union to the government.
NUT continued that the government promise of payment of one year leave on compassionate ground and completion of payment of one month minimum wage arrears to primary school teachers could not be actualised.
The union appealed to both parents and pupils for understanding as the government’s insensitivity to the teachers’ plight has pushed NUT to call out teachers for strike.