Teachers protest against council autonomy in Oyo

A cross section of  members of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), protesting against local government autonomy in Ibadan, Oyo State …yesterday. Story on page 8. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

The Oyo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), yesterday staged a peaceful protest against the proposed local governments’ autonomy in Ibadan, the capital city.

They said if local governments autonomy was imperative for the federal and state governments, payment of primary school teachers, funding and management of the schools should not be the responsibility of the local councils.

The rally, which took-off at the Agodi Secretariat of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), was led by the state chairman, Niyi Akano and the state Trade Unions Congress (TUC) chairman, Waheed Olojede, to deliver their protest letter to Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

The placards carrying teachers argued that granting political, financial or administrative autonomy to the local government, would mean transferring the management, equipping and funding of primary school education to the local government.

They said the burden would be too heavy for the third tier of government to bear.Some of the inscriptions on the placard read: “Nigeria Union of Teachers, Oyo State Wing says no to local government’s autonomy,” “Basic education is a right of every child,” “Local government councils do not have the capacity to pay primary school teachers salaries,” “Basic education is a right and must be protected by all,” “Foundation of education in Nigeria under threat again,” among others.

Akano said that the rally was not a protest against salary arrears but a fight for the soul of primary education in the state and the country at large.Olojede maintained that allowing the local governments to take charge of the primary school education in the country was a good way of sending the sector back to the woods, saying that the teachers would not support local government autonomy in any way

He suggested that payment of primary school teachers’ salaries and entitlements should be left with State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).Deputy Governor, Moses Adeyemo assured that he would deliver their demands of the group to the governor.Adeyemo who expressed shock at the massive turn out noted that until the protest, he had thought the teachers are strong advocate of local government autonomy.



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