Federal lawmakers seek special bailout for teachers' salaries
The Senate, at plenary, on Tuesday, expressed grave concern over the persistent failure of state governments to pay teachers' salaries and urged the Federal Government to immediately enter into negotiations with the affected states.
The upper chamber requested an effective, comprehensive intervention scheme that will address the development in affected states.
The Senate equally asked the federal, state and local governments to immediately take necessary steps towards the payment of all outstanding salary arrears owed the teachers.
It also urged the states to immediately begin the implementation of a priority expenditure scheme that would equate the payment of teachers' salaries with public expenditure such as security.
The resolutions were the aftermath of a motion by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) in which he observed that basic education remained a concurrent issue.
He described it as the basic responsibility of both the state and local governments but which currently required the prompt intervention of the Federal Government to avert a total collapse of the nation's education system.
Melaye argued that a situation where some states owed teachers five months salaries and beyond was not good enough.
He added, 'The implication of this is that what we have in our hands with this situation is a national emergency that requires drastic measures to halt the drift.'
He described teachers' welfare as the heartbeat of the success of the education system.
He advocated the need to explore several education intervention funds that were backed by law but devoted to capital projects, pointing out that such funds could be deployed to pay teachers' salaries.
Melaye observed that provisions had been made for the recruitment of more teachers in the 2016 budget without any clear roadmap about payment of salaries.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, described as a paradox, a situation where the Federal Government was currently attempting to recruit 500,000 fresh teachers when those in current employment were actually not paid.
Senator Ali Wakili (Bauchi South) lamented that a number of teachers could no longer shoulder their primary responsibilities in their families because they were not paid. – Punch