Why FG Must Take Over Payment Of Primary Schools Teachers, By Okeme

By SUNDAY EGEDE
FOR local government councils in the country to be alive to their constitutional responsibilities, the federal government has to take over the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries, the Special Adviser to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan on Labour and Industrial Relations, Comrade Mike Okeme has said.
Okeme stated this during a meeting between the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) and the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in the state which was held recently at the LGSC headquarters in Asaba to discuss possible ways of resolving issues that led to the strike action embarked upon by NULGE members in 21 local government councils in the state.
According to him, it may be difficult for local government councils in the country to survive if they (local councils) continue to bear the burden of paying primary school teachers’ salaries. He noted that if the federal government takes over the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries, the money being deducted at source from local government councils’ allocations for primary school teachers’ salaries would be used for the payment of local government workers’ salaries and developmental projects at the grassroots.
The Special Adviser who was playing a mediatory role during the meeting that was held at the instance of the chairman of the LGSC, Comrade Olumami Oyibo, noted that the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries from the allocations of local government councils across the country was actually eating deep into local government finances.
While expressing optimism that the issues raised by the union that led to the industrial action would be resolved amicably, Okeme stressed the need for the leadership of the union to call for a state executive council meeting of NULGE with a view to suspending the strike action.
In his speech during the meeting, State Secretary of the union, Apostle Goddy Wilson said that he lacks the constitutional powers to convene a state executive council meeting of the union, adding that it was only the state president of the union that can do that (convene state executive council meeting of the union) in consultation with the secretary.
“Unless the state executive council meeting is held, we cannot suspend the strike action. Right now, we cannot communicate with the state president of the union, Comrade David Ofoeyeno and this has put us at a very difficult situation”, the secretary who was joined by the Deputy State President of the union, Comrade Osita Zico Okwudi said.