NASU storms Oyo Governor’s Office to protest FG’s discriminatory policy
By Ojo Peter, Ibadan
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational And Associated Institution (NASU), Oyo state chapter has protested against the federal government policy on service years and retirement age which the union described as discriminatory and undeserved denial of their rights.
NASU Oyo state secretary, Comrade Folorunso Olubunmi, while speaking on Monday during the protest, explained that President Buhari had in his address on year 2020 World Teachers Day, approved 40 years as the new service years as against the initial 35 years, for all teaching staff in secondary schools and colleges in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has announced a special salary scale for teachers while also increasing the years of service from 35 years to 40 years in a bid to motivate teachers.
During a ceremony marking the World Teachers Day on Monday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced this gift to teachers across the country in a speech presented by the minister of education, Adamu Adamu.
Buhari said the move is in recognition of the roles of teachers in nation-building and to encourage them in delivering better service.
The new approvals include a special salary scale for teachers in basic and secondary schools, automatic employment for graduates from universities and colleges of education, building of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, increasing service for teachers from 35 years to 40 years and among others.
“The future of this country will be a function of quality education delivered to our children today and this depends on the quality of our teachers and the quality of our teachers depend on the motivation and their motivation depends on how happy they are doing what they are doing,” Buhari said.
On the same occasion, minister of state for education, Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, identified the teaching profession as the greatest profession in the world which must be accorded adequate recognition and respect. He said having a day to celebrate the teacher is just but a token gesture of recognition to the sacrificial contribution of teachers.
Speaking further, Oyo state chapter of NASU explained that the president also extended retirement age from 60 to 65 years for teachers across all secondary and colleges for same category of workers.
They alleged that such policy was discriminatory as it was not a crime for any worker in the academic environment to decide not to become a teaching staff but rather non-teaching worker.
The union noted that since the president gave the new approval in his last world teachers’ day address, only workers in the teaching line have been enjoying benefits of the new FG approval. “If any student is entering any school to begin an academic journey, the first point of contact is the non-academic staff, even before going into the classroom, they are guided on everything needed to be done by the non-academic staff.
“Even after they are through with their education and about to graduate, the last person they will see is still the none academic staff, we then wonder why all these incentives will be given to teachers alone
“As none academic staffs, we are in the bursary department, we are in the laboratory, we are in the library and when it comes to administration we are there so, what is our offense?
“I can decide to go to the university and chose not to go the teaching line, is it a crime, even with my masters, should I be denied any opportunity or incentives.
“It is totally wrong and at this point we decided to come to the federal government, we have written letters to the federal government, to the IGP, to the senate, to the House of Representatives, even the Speaker on the pronouncement of 5th October 2020,” the union stated.
The union expressed its confidence and faith in the Seyi Makinde led administration’s commitments to workers welfare without discrimination stressing that the protest had nothing to do with the state government but federal government policy as it affects teachers and none teachers alike.
The union, however, delivered a message to the federal government through the Oyo state government, the letter which was received by Comrade Bayo Titilola Sodo, special assistant on labour matters to Governor Seyi Makinde.
Speaking on behalf of Oyo state government, Sodo, commended the union for their comportment and courage. He, however, assured that the message which is expected to the be delivered to the president through the state governor will be duly delivered and in a timely manner.