Group demands N18,000 minimum wage for Kogi teachers

Pupils in a classroom with their teacher at the Tsangaya Model Primary School, Ganduje

A group, the Basic Education Teachers Association of Nigeria (BESAN), has demanded the full implementation of the old N18,000 minimum wage for teachers in primary and junior secondary schools in Kogi State.

The group’s demand was contained in an open letter sent to the state governor, Yahaya Bello, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Lokoja.

The letter dated 25th November said it was demanding for the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage to arrest the dwindling fortunes of basic education in the state.

The BESAN which is an umbrella body of teachers in primary and junior secondary schools in the state said that other civil servants in the state were already enjoying the minimum wage, saying its demand for teachers in the basic education sector was in the interest of fairness and justice.

The letter was signed by the state Chairman and Secretary of BESAN, Mr Onotu Yahaya and Mr Tope Akintobi respectively.

It also called for a stop to the payment of percentage salary to teachers in the basic education sector.

It explained that monthly payment of 35 per cent salary to its members from January till date was disheartening and an aberration in the history of education in the state.

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According to them, the 35 per cent monthly salary payment to teachers also violated the governor’s earlier directive on 60 per cent monthly salary payment to teachers in the sector.

They called on the governor to order the immediate payment of their outstanding salary arrears and allowances from January 2018 till date, including the balance of the underpayment of 60 per cent benchmark.

“Government should promote hard work and dedication to duty by rewarding and motivating the teachers through prompt payment of 100 per cent N18,000 minimum wage, leave allowances, promotion and annual salary incremental steps/rates with cash backing,” they said.

The group also called the attention of the governor to the problem of acute shortage of staff in many primary and junior secondary schools in the state.

It said that the problem largely arose as a result of a staff screening exercise carried out by the government in 2016 which they said reduced the staff strength in the sector to 16,419 from 23, 466.

While calling for the filling of the vacant teaching positions, they also demanded infrastructure that will aid quality teaching and learning in the schools.

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“Teachers should be given the needed opportunity to undergo in-service training and professional workshops to enhance their capability and efficiency,” the letter stated.

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