From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Abia State Government has called on members of the state chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to return to classes in the interest of their students and pupils.
Teachers in the state schools system had penultimate week given the government one week to clear areas of salaries and other entitlements owed them, failure which they would embark on industrial action.
In a statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, government said primary and junior secondary school teachers have received salary up to November 2020, leaving only December as outstanding.
He said the state government paid three months salary to secondary school teachers in December 2020 as part of efforts to clear backlogs owed them with a promise to pay at least another two months in January 2021.
“At a time the nation is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic and the EndSARS protests, with the attendant economic challenges and closure of schools for more than 6 months, the state government showed faith with teachers and other workers by ensuring that while workers in our Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) who make up more than 70 percent of our state’s workforce are up to date with salary payment, distressed parastatals were also heavily supported to ensure that they paid workers in the crucial month of December with a going forward plan clearly defined.
“In addition to paying workers in Abia State MDAs their December 2020 salary on December 22, 2020, subventions were released to some state parastatals to support their payment of arrears”.
The commissioner informed that the state government paid out a total of N1.68bn to parastatals in December last year to argument payment of salaries.
Okiyi expressed surprise that after successful negotiations with the local and national leaders of the NUT, the teachers were yet to return to the classroom.
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