We’re not against LG autonomy, says Bayelsa NUT

Zenith

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Bayelsa State has said that it was not against the local government autonomy.
It also stated that its members were only advocating sensitisation of stakeholders and the public on the danger inherent in handing over of the affairs of
primary education to local government councils should autonomy of local government be granted.
The state Chairman of NUT Bayelsa State wing, Comrade Kalaama John Tonpre, stated this during a peaceful protest in Yenagoa. According to him, the awful experience of teachers between 1990 and 1994 when primary education was left in the hands of local government councils would continue to haunt the education industry for a long time to come.
He pointed out that payment of primary school teachers’ salaries and allowances as well as retirement benefits to retirees was not the priority of politicians in the local government areas.
He posited that the provision of the 1999 constitution, which vests the onus of funding and management of primary education on states while the local government participates as interpreted by the Supreme Court should be upheld to save primary education from imminent collapse that might arise from local government autonomy and scrapping of the state and Local Government Joint Allocation Account.
He said that the NUT therefore submited two options to checkmate the imminent disaster of the primary education in Nigeria.
“First is to pay primary teachers salaries from first line charge from the Federation Account through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and secondly, to hand over completely the responsibility of paying the salaries component of revenue allocation of the local governments will be transfered to the state government and to restructure the fiscal allocation of our Natural resources in favour of states to guarantee unhindered, uninterrupted and unfettered Basic Education in Nigeria,” he said.
Our correspondent, who monitored the peaceful protest along Isaac Boro Express reported that the protesters carried placards some of which read: “Respect Supreme Court Judgement on responsibility of payment of primary School teachers salaries,” “Enough of toying with the future of our youths,” “Stop politicising primary education, it’s dangerous,” “Local government does not have the capacity to pay primary school teachers’ salaries.”
Responding, the Chairman, House Committee on Education at the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Gentle Emalah, who was accompanied by Koku Ebiowu, assured that their grouse would be taken to House of Assembly for necessary action, because as a trained teacher before he veered into politics the issues being canvassed were genuine and should not be toyed with.