About 52 teachers in the employment of the Bauchi State government have decried non-payment of their salaries, in some instances up to 59 months, by the state government.
The teachers, who gathered under the aegis of Teachers’ Rights, on Tuesday, submitted a letter to the state Ministry of Education, demanding payment of their salaries.
Addressing journalists after submitting the letter to the ministry, chairman of the Teachers’ Rights, Bashir Usman, described their issue as not only sad but also pathetic.
He lamented that the non-payment of their salaries had brought untold hardship on them to the extent that they find it extremely difficult to feed their families and pay their bills, while many had to sell their properties to make ends meet.
Usman disclosed that one of them was languishing in prison as a result of a loan he collected which he had been unable to repay.
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“Most of us have to sell some of our properties in order to feed our families and provide their needs. Even yesterday (Monday), one of our members called me that he cannot come for our meeting because he can’t feed his family let alone paying the transport fare to come for the meeting.
Another member is currently locked in prison because he collected a loan from someone thinking that when he is paid his salary, he will pay back.
“But since the money has not been paid, his creditor has locked him up. They will release him only when he pays this debt and he can only pay it when he is paid his salary. So, these are some of our problems,” Usman said.
The Teachers’ Rights chairman, however, said while the non payment of salaries of some of them was inherited by the Governor Bala Mohammed administration, salaries of some if them were stopped by the present administration in the state.
He disclosed that their salaries were stopped due to various reasons, ranging from abscondment, premature retirement, change of name, date of birth, among others.
I am here with my members due to our unpaid salaries. There are series of issues, some of which are, abscondment, premature retirement, change of name, date of birth, PSN miscaptured, those who are deceased but are still on the payroll, which caused the non-payment of our salaries.
Some of us have not been paid for many months, ranging from three to 59 months and some of the problems of these unpaid salaries were inherited from the past administration while some of us were affected within this present administration.
Those of us that are affected by this administration have not been paid for 21, 18, 15, 10 down to three months,” Usman said.
He further stated that the affected teachers had made several efforts, including meeting with the state Deputy Accountant-General, to have their issues resolved, adding that all their efforts had not yielded any positive results.
As part of their efforts, Usman said they met with the chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Negotiation Council (JNC), adding that they were working with them with a view to ensuring that the unpaid salaries were settled.
He added that they had even taken their case to the newly appointed Secretary to the State Government (SSG), who promised that he would so his best to ensure they were cleared.
We were privileged to meet with the Secretary to the Bauchi State Government, Barrister Kassim, and he promised us that he will do his best to see that these 92 teachers are cleared. But yet, they haven’t been cleared,” he added.
When contacted on telephone, the Permanent Secretary, who is currently head of the Ministry, in the absence of a substantive Commissioner for Education, Dr Sule Madara, denied knowledge of the affected teachers’ issue, saying “I don’t even know, I am not even in Bauchi. I don’t know about their issue, I don’t know.”