Jethro Ibileke/Benin

There are indications that students of public schools in Edo State who just resumed after the long vacation, would begin another indefinite vacation, following a strike notice sent to the state government by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) over its failure to meet its demands.

The notification which follows the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum the Union earlier handed over to the State Government, shows that the indefinite strike will commence on Friday.

The Edo NUT, in a communique dated 6 September and signed by Pius Oaikhena Okhueleigbe and Moni Mike Modesty Itua, Chairman and Acting Secretary respectively, expressed dissatisfaction with the State Government’s failure to meet its demands.

“The State Wing Executive (SWEC) of the Nigeria Union of Teachers noted with dissatisfaction, the non-resolution by Edo State Government of any of the issues that gave rise to the 21-day ultimatum.

“The Union magnanimously gave another seven-day extension period ending on the 13 September, 2018 to Edo State Government, to meet the Union’s demands, failure which Edo State public school teachers will commence an indefinite strike with effect from Friday 14 September, 2018,” NUT stated.

The demands of the teachers include the financial implementation of the 2013 to 2015 primary school teachers promotions as approved by the State Government, with the arrears of last January to July inclusive, as well as teachers’ deliberately omitted or denied the promotions by SUBEB.

Other demands are the immediate implementation of the N25,000 minimum wage approved by the State Government in May, 2016, for all its workers (including all primary school teachers), with all the arrears; the immediate provision of subvention funds to both primary and secondary schools across the State.

The public school teachers had complained that they had been using their salaries to provide instructional materials like chalk, markers, diaries, registers, etc, for teaching in their various schools since 2012.

“Edo State Public Primary and Secondary School heads and their teachers are tired of using their meagre salaries to provide instructional materials such chalk, markers, diaries, registers and many others, for teaching and learning in schools, due to the failure of Government to provide subventions to schools since the years 2012, and the recent near-zero supply of such items to schools.

“The Union decried lack of manpower personnel in the public schools, and urged the Government to commence the process of recruiting of about 9,000 and 3000 new staff to fill the vacant positions​ in both primary and secondary schools before the commencement of the next academic session slated for September,” they added.

The union appealed to all well-meaning citizens to prevail on the State Government to urgently meet the demands of the Union with a view to averting what it described as imminent darkness that is about to envelop the education sector in the State.

Reacting to the threat of strike by the Union, the state Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Ms Joan Osa Oviawe, said the State Government was discussing with the teachers to avert the strike.

Meanwhile, the State Government has postponed the resumption of public primary schools in the State from 10 September to 17 September, while their counterparts in the post- primary schools have resumed.