By Stanley Onyekwere
In a bid to halt the October 2 planned strike by the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees’ (NULGE), in solidarity with Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) over their lingering grievances with the Chairmen of the six FCT Area Councils, FCT Minister, Barrister Nyesom Wike has revealed the setting up of a six-man committee to resolve the dispute within two weeks.
Recall that to press home their demands, members of NUT in the FCT embarked on strike since the resumption of schools in the territory for 2023/2024 academic session.
Briefing journalists after a brief closed door meeting with chairmen of the six Area Councils and officials of NULGE, the Minister said in the next 48 hours all issues igniting the seeming unending grievances among the parties should be addressed.
He said: “We have set up a committee to come up with modalities on how the problem will be resolved.
“We believe that NULGE is satisfied with the arrangements put on ground to resolve these issues.
“I believe that in the next 48 hours NULGE should do the needful because of the interest of the people”.
Also, the minister commended the NULGE officials for attending the meeting with open minds for a quicker resolution of the problems.
Meanwhile, fielding questions from journalists after the meeting, mandate Secretary FCT Area Councils Service Secretariat, Bitrus Garki revealed that the issues bother around the 40% peculiar allowance, hazard allowance and other deductions that the union was putting forward.
Garki explained that the issues dates as far as 2006 but, the current minister of FCT was concerned on how to address them and other challenges the Area Councils are facing.
“What happened today was basically to understand what the issues are and the challenges the areas councils were actually facing.
“The minister has intervened and set up a six-man committee, made up of members of NULGE, directors of finance in the six areas councils and officials of the FCTA.
“From our discussions, NULGE applauded the minister for speedy intervention and responding to their letter.
“We all agreed that the strike should be called off, pending when the report will come out from the committee, and we will meet again to find lasting solutions to the problem,” he said.
Prior to the Minister’s intervention, he FCT Wing of the NUT, which had on Sept 11, began indefinite strike, over unpaid 40 per cent peculiar and other outstanding allowances, also alleged non-compliance with the agreement on payments of the backlog of teachers’ entitlement amongst others.
Others include non-payment of 25 months arrears of the 2019 approved national minimum wage, non-release of some promotion letters to beneficiaries and non-implementation of released promotion letters.
Also, there are issues of non-payment of promotion arrears, non-upgrading of concerned teachers, non-implementation of salaries for upgraded teachers and non-implementation of annual salary increments in some councils.