Benue Teachers have raised alarm over their plight under the APC Government of Governor Samuel Ortom. The primary school teachers say they have been reduced to begging and selling petty items to make ends meet.
A primary school teacher with Universal Basic Education, UBE, Arabic girls, Kwararafa quarters in Makurdi, Benue State, said the current administration had only paid them five months since January, out of which, 2 months were paid in December.
According to the teacher who pleaded anonymity:
“January salary in August, February in October, March in November and April in December. From the beginning of this year, Ortom has only paid primary school teachers five months.”
“Ortom was initially owing us for nine months. He paid primary school teachers January in August, February in October, March in November and April in December.”
The aggrieved teacher said the Benue State Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, attempted to mediate in the matter but failed as the governor was not ready to leave up to his administration’s responsibilities.
She alleged that officials of the NLC had to walk out on the governor during a meeting as he asked them to sign that he would pay five months while the other months should be forfeited.
“The NLC wrote a letter to Otorm stating the problems facing teachers in the state.”
“Following the letter, he called officials of the body to a meeting but we heard they walked out on him because he asked them to sign that he would pay us for five months while we forfeit the other months. We do not know whether that’s true or whether the labour leaders have been compromised.”
“The case of primary school teachers in Benue State is something else. Currently, we are facing non payment of allowances, death benefits, non payment of pensions, lack of promotion, leave grant for over 10 years etc..,”
The source maintained that the salaries being owed started from the inception of the current administration and not the previous administration of Gabriel Suswam.
“The current debt started from the inception of the Otorm’s administration, contrary to insinuations, the previous governor, Gabriel Suswam only owed us four months and it was paid after bailout fund was released.”
‘’Teachers are suffering; some of my colleagues now sell yams, soya beans, maize in the market and some of us, our children have been sent home from school because we can no longer afford the school fees.”
A staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, who wished not to be mentioned corroborated the story.