Gov Dickson Commended for Releasing funds to Augment Payment of Primary School Staff Salaries for February

Create: 05/12/2017 - 19:21

The Bayelsa state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has been commended for the prompt release of funds to augment the payment of primary school staff salaries, for the month of February.

The Bayelsa state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has been commended for the prompt release of funds to augment the payment of primary school staff salaries, for the month of February.

This was contained in statement issued on behalf of the commissioners of Education, Elder Markson Fefegha, Local government Administration, Pastor Agatha Goma, and members of the committee set up by the governor to look into the crisis bedevilling the sector and proffer a lasting solution by the commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite.

This is coming on the wings of the agreement reached between the government team and the State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT).

Governor Seriake Dickson had earlier ordered full payment of the February salaries to the striking teachers and assured that, the state government would work with the local government authority, in putting an end to the non-payment of the salaries to the primary school staff.

The commissioners alsp used the opportunity to thank the headmasters of the various primary schools in the state for their active participation in the just concluded two days workshop on preparation of vouchers for monthly payment of salaries to primary school staff in their respective schools.

The statement also commended the members of the NUT that took part in the meeting for resisting the pressure from the state chairman and secretary, who are hell bent in thwarting the efforts and good intentions of the Governor Seriake Dickson led Restoration Administration at repositioning the sector.

The government has been vindicated by the action of the State chairman and secretary as it had earlier disclosed that, these people are being used as tools to destabilize the operations of the government in the state by opposition leaders, stressing that, the affected leaders have put their personal interests above the collective interests of their members.

The Chairman is seeing the face off as an opportunity to launder his battered image in readiness for the next NUT elections.

The statement thanked the governor for what he described as prompt action for the release of funds to augment the payment of full salary for the month of February to the affected teachers in the state that has since hit the local government account.

It attributed irregularities in the monthly payment of salary to the primary school staff to the economic recession that the Country is currently battling with, adding that with time the local government areas will get over it.

However, it is wrong for any right thinking individual to be playing politics with the issue of payment of salary, noting that it has to do with lives and the wellbeing of the citizenry.

The Chairman and the Secretary of the union, instead of facing the reality and addressing the issue on ground are playing politics with the issue that affect their members.

As responsible and responsive leaders, they ought to know that payment of primary school staff is the sole responsibility of the local government authorities as clearly stated in the 4th schedule paragraph 2a of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says that “The functions of a local government council shall include participation of such council in the Government of a State as respects the following matters -

(a)  The provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education”

Also, the 6th National Education Policy 2013 edition states as follows:

“That local government shall through their local education authority have the responsibility for the management of primary education within their local government areas”.

It added:

a. The local government authority shall be responsible in public school for the appointment, promotion, discipline and transfer of teaching and non-teaching staff within their areas of jurisdiction.

b. Payment of primary school teachers and allowances.

c. Payment of pension and gratuities.

d. Training and retraining of Teachers.

e. Overall management of their educational plans.

f. Supervision and quality control of primary schools in their area in conjunction with the Federal and state authority.

g. Developing and management of an efficient local education management information system.

However, in spite of the constitutional provision and the National Education policy, the present administration because of its passion for the sector from inception after declaring the state of emergency took over the burden of the payment of primary school staff by taking 80% and later 60% of the entire salary burden of primary education. This is inspite of the provision of infrastructure for both primary and secondary schools in the state, which as at the last count is above N50 billion.

The government however use this medium to call on all staff of the primary education system, local government authorities, stakeholders and labour leaders to work together in cleaning up the fraudulent activities which have raised the salary bill of primary schools and the local government areas to a point where the local government councils can no longer fulfil their obligations as enshrined in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.