By Stanley Onyekwere
In the wake indefinite strike action rocking the basic education subsector, the Federal Capital Territory Universal Basic Education Education (FCT-UBEB) has declared that it’s not owing FCT teachers’ salaries, but the area councils chairmen should be blamed for the primary schools’ teachers strike.
Making this position known during a press briefing yesterday, Executive Chairman, FCT UBE Board Dr. Alhassan Sule, said it was surprising to receive a letter from the NUT secretariat with the information that they gave a directive to all teachers in the primary sector not to resume on Wednesday.
Sule noted that the FCT administration has been doing its best for FCT teachers, that in December all teachers that are under the payroll of the FCT administration were paid, as such it is not owing to any teacher salary.
He further explained that at the local government level, they were able to implement promotions, but the issue of arrears became a problem.
“I could remember that in December NUT and the local government had an agreement to suspend their strike based on the agreement that they are going to have a round table to discuss the template on how they are going to implement the arrears.
“I believe that what the area council did by not inviting the NUT to a round table discussion is one of the reasons that they decided to go back to strike.
“They are not talking of the arrears now, but that they should come together and get a workable template on how they are going to decrease all the outstanding arrears date back to 2015, 2016 till date in the local government arrears.
“They have paid all promotion arrears as far as FCT education is concerned. But that of local government has to do with friction between the LEA secretaries and their chairmen when it has to do with the employment of teachers”, he stressed.
On his part, FCT NUT chairman, Comrade Stephen Knabayi, also explained that as far as NUT is concerned, the payment of teachers’ salaries in LEA schools, FCT has been prompt and regular.
“We have been part of the meeting and members of JAAC where allocations come from the federation account and shared accordingly, where the issue of teachers salaries is made a frontline charge. Also, there is never a time when salaries are held by the six area councils.
“But presently, we have directed that schools should be shut down in the six area councils with effect from today Wednesday.
“That has to do with the outstanding arrears and the non payment of the arrears of the new national minimum wage, and some months of annual increment in some LEAs,” he said.