The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Niger State Wing, Comrade Adamu Mohammed Akayago, has decried the painful bondages teachers in the state were being subjected to by successive administrations.
He noted that teachers, who were the torchbearers of positive transformations, were always neglected, reduced to beggars, and treated as insignificant people among other civil servants in the state public service when it came to the issue of welfare.
Speaking on the occasion of the 2023 World Teachers Day celebration, which took place at the Comrade Labaran Garba Multi-Purpose Conference Centre at the NUT Secretariat, Tungagoro, in Minna on Thursday, he described the suffering state of teachers in Niger State as painful.
According to the chairman, in November 2018, the salaries of civil servants on the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS) in Niger State were reviewed by 25 percent by the state government, denying teachers at both primary and post-primary schools the right to benefit.
"This development did not only make teachers the lowest salary earners in the state public service, but has gone a long way to destroy the age-long glory and reputation of the teaching profession, equally contributing to the mass exodus of teachers from Niger State," he stated.
He added that, in 2023, the Nigeria Governors Forum approved the Teachers Salary Structure (TSS) for teachers across the country in the ratio of 27.5 percent for professional, qualified teachers and 12.5 percent for non-professional, unqualified teachers. noting that only eight and two percent have so far been implemented for both professionals and non-professionals, respectively, in the state.
He disclosed that the union has made concerted efforts through correspondence, meetings with government officials and the executive governor, and even embarked on a strike, all with the view of persuading the state government to consider teachers in the 25 percent salary review, full implementation of the Teachers' Salary Structure (TSS), and the new minimum wage of N30,000.
"His Excellency totally agreed with us that teachers deserve a special palliative package arising from the present economic situation in the country", he said.
He then appealed to the present leadership of Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago to review the salaries of teachers in the state in order to reduce their plight, considering the biting economic challenges facing teachers occasioned by the hike in the price of fuel as a result of subsidy removal.
Represented by his deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago of Niger State appreciated the role of teachers in nation-building and assured that his administration would continue to improve the well-being of teachers in Niger State.
He reiterated the stance of the administration's preparedness to access qualified and affordable education for all, as well as promoting a regime of free and compulsory primary education in the state.
The 2023 theme for celebration, "The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse teacher shortage", witnessed the presentation of teachings and instructional materials by the state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Hadiza Asabe Mohammed.
The National Power Producing Areas Development Commission HYPPADEC, will soon commenced its operation in four additional states of the country.
The Managing Director of the commission Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Yelwa, stated this at a one day meeting held at the headquarters of the commission in Minna on Sustainable Agriculture, Food output and the use of modern technologies.
He said that the expected new states which its operations will kick start the activities were Kaduna, Gombe, Taraba and Nassara statea as well as North Hydroelectric producing areas.
Alhaji Sadiq Yelwa, said that the 10 existing member states of the commission will only operate in a selected communities that were visibly affected by the presence of the dams or the presence of water bodies.
Speaking further he said that in the six existing pioneer states, the commission will operate in about 1,800 communities spread accross 55 local government areas of the country, while for the new members states, work was in progress on how to identify the communities in which the operations of the commission will cover.
He disclosed that in 2021 when the commission commenced operations, one of its cardinal focus was promoting agriculture in power producing areas, adding that the only way to reverse the growing trend of food security was through sustainable agriculture.
According to him, the commission under his management, has launched a fertilizer subsidization programme to promote agricultural out-put through the use of modern fertilizers with the view to assist farmers, whom he said constituted the majority of the population in the power producing areas.
He observed that farmers in these areas were facing lots of challenges in accessing efficient and affordable fertilizers, which the commission has to intervene by making quality fertilizers available to the farmers at cheaper rate.
He said that in 2022, the commission has part of its intervention, distributed about 50,000 bags of fertilizers to thousands of farmers accross the six pioneer states, while in 2023 farming season, 42,000 bags of fertilizers were equally distributed to the farmers, in which each of the 1,800 communities benefited, while before the end of this year, the new four states will start feeling the impact after completing asssement and survey of the affected communities.
Highlights of the occasion was a lecture delivered by Prof. Abdullahi Mohammed Ibrahim of Ahmadu Bello University Zaira and Dr. Haruna Ibrahim of Federal University of Technology Minna.