The Bayelsa state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to Douye Diri, the state governor, to address the union’s demands or risk strike action.

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NAN reports that the union’s position was continued in a communique issued after an emergency meeting of its executive council in Yenagoa, the state capital.

In the communique signed by Kalaama Tonpre, the state NUT chairman, and Johnson Hector, its secretary, the union called out the state government over unpaid salaries of its members.

The union also said it held series of meetings with representatives of the state and local governments last year over the lingering issues of non-payment and implementation of N30,000 minimum wage, promotions and salary arrears owed primary school teachers.

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The union added that it also discussed other critical issues bordering on the welfare of teachers and public education in the state.

It, however, expressed disappointment with the government’s disregard for the series of negotiations and resolutions reached with the leadership of the union to address the demands before December 2020.

“Should the problems mentioned above remain unresolved untill the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum, primary school teachers in the state would have no other option than to down tools,” the communique partly read.

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“Without prejudice to the above resolution, the State Wing of the NUT is ever committed to working with the prosperity government to guarantee an enhanced public school system through better conditions of service and quality education delivery, but not when the teachers perish.”

Reacting to the communique, Gentle Emelah, the commissioner of education, said primary school teachers are the responsibility of the local government councils.

He, however, said that the state government was working to meet the agreement reached with the NUT. He pleaded with the union to soft-pedal in the ultimatum given to the government.

“I am aware, we had a meeting with them late last year and we agreed on certain terms and I think government is working on those terms as they were and one of those things is the issue of their promotion,” he said.

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“Both the primary and secondary schools board, the SUBEB have organised promotion and it’s ongoing. Those are some of the agreements and conditions we reached.

“I am equally aware that concerning the primary school, which is worst hit, there was an agreement we reached where monies are being saved by local government councils because primary school teachers are being paid by the local government.

“It is not the responsibility of the state government, but it is only augmenting and assisting them to see that the issue is resolved.

“If government is doing its own bits to make sure that the agreement is fulfilled, I think they should soft pedal and I believe they will because we are doing all the things we agreed in that meeting.”

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