Leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, in Kwara State has advised the state government to stop the salaries, allowances as well as external dues of all the political office holders in the state with immediate effect.
The union added that such money in addition to the security votes and entitlements of the members of the state House of Assembly should be used in paying the salaries of the workers.
This union made this recommendation on Tuesday at a stakeholders meeting organised by the state government towards finding lasting solutions to the financial crisis facing the state.
A former chairman of the NUT in the state, Comrade Olateju AbdulKareem spoke on behalf of the union at the meeting.
Other members at the meeting were representatives of NLC, TUC, NULGE, NUP as well as the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Demola Banu, Commissioner for Education and Human Development, Alhaji Musa Yeketi, local government council chairmen, permanent secretaries and the Accountant General of the state, Mr. Suleiman Ishola.
According to NUT, “Government should desist from embarking on projects that do not have any bearing on the welfare of the people of the state. Henceforth, salaries, allowances and extacode of all political office holders including members of the State House of Assembly should stopped for now. These monies should be translated into funds that will be used in paying salaries of the workers in the state.
“Our members are hungry; they are in bad conditions. Therefore, the security votes of the state should also be accounted for and used for the welfare of the Kwara workers. This is the only way out of this ugly financial situation. No teacher will resume work without salary payment.”
The union leaders added that “NUT was not against the verification exercise planned by the government, but this must come after all salary arrears are settled. All our members are tired of trekking. As at now, no money to even take vehicle to anywhere for any official commitments.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Demola Banu had appealed to the aggrieved workers to embrace peaceful dialogue as a way of achieving their demands, stressing that “government has been making efforts towards solving the lingering financial crisis.”
He said: “I have not been a happy man since as the person in charge of the finances of the state. The state has not been able to meet its statutory responsibilities of paying workers’ salaries. It has been very difficult for me to cope with this ugly situation.
“Prior to this period, as the lowest on the allocation ladder, the state was taking a monthly allocation of N3.4 billion but presently as I speak with you, during the last FAAC meeting, we took the sum of N1.4 billion. With this, the state apparently cannot do anything. Even workers’ salaries alone were estimated at N2.4 billion monthly. So, what can we do in this challenging period?”
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Education and Human Development, Alhaji Musa Yeketi urged Kwara workers to be patriotic and tolerant, stressing that “even if two countries are at war, there is still an avenue to sit on a roundtable for negotiation.”