Edo State Government has set up an investigative panel in each of the eighteen local government areas of the state to take an of the audit schools, number of teachers in the schools, their qualifications and the total salaries and allowances paid to them.
Governor of the State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole disclosed this yesterday when the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House. He said government’s decision is designed to get to the root of the current mismanagement at the primary schools with regards to teachers’ salaries.
According to the governor, “It was part of this search, I suspect that led to some people going to burn down the archives at the Ministry of Education.
“What we have been trying to do here is to try to find the courage to clean up the mess we inherited in Edo State and to see that we leave behind not just roads, schools and street lights and a school system that works but also institutionalised paperless government so that the level of manipulation can be minimised if not completely eradicated,” he noted.
“If there is one matter that has engaged my time and those of my lieutenants in government, it is trying to see through what is going on with regards to teachers salaries. Because the problem has been there for a very long time, those involve in it are so deeply entrenched in it,” he added.
On the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) strike, Oshiomhole said, “It is very unfortunate that the NUT chose to play to the gallery. For people like me there are advantages of my being here, we will not pursue anti-worker and anti-union policies. Edo State was the first state to pay 27.5 percent both for secondary and primary schools. I did so because I believe paying teachers more will encourage teachers to go into teaching, then it is worth it, otherwise the job is not more tasking than any other job any other person is doing.”
The governor disclosed that, “what we are paying now is the result of a collective agreement between the NUT, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) and Edo State government. You don’t go on strike when there is a subsisting agreement.”
He maintained that the 27.5% Teachers’ Special Allowance agreed with two unions shrunk to 17% because of the new minimum wage, arguing that if the NUT wants a review of the agreement, it must come to the negotiations table, but he will not be forced to an agreement with the union, if it fails to negotiate.
Comrade Oshiomhole said the government is stopping the teacher’s salary because the law is clear if you do not work you do not earn.
Oshiomhole said the government is trying to assist the local government how to improve on their internal generated revenue, because for me governance goes beyond going beyond Abuja to collect cheque and then distribute it and wait for the next thirty days.
“It is the responsibility of any government at any level to be able to think, put on your thinking cap and find solutions to problems that confront you , therefore local governments must look inwards and see how they can generate revenue to complete what they receive from the federation account.”
Earlier, the state president of the Nigeria Union of local government employees, Comrade Young Ilemikhene commended the governor for his outstanding numerous achievements in the state.
He noted that the local government still remains the third tier government in Nigeria as contained in 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and it is necessary to recognize and respect its operational procedures in line with the existing laws as to enable it perform its constitutionally assigned roles.