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I WON'T BREAK BANK TO PAY – AKALA

By NBF News

Oyo State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala has declared he would not break the bank to meet the demands of striking teachers in the state. Akala, who spoke to newsmen in Ibadan, in reaction to the work boycott ordered by the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), added that he was not obliged to accede to the union leadership's demand as it was illegitimate.

Specifically, he said the state NUT leadership's demand for the implementation of the 27.5 per cent salary increase approved for teachers nationwide, was not binding on him as the election that brought it into office was not held in Oyo State.

Disagreement over the non-payment of the new Teachers Salary Scale (TSS) has led to the warning strike which started on Wednesday.

The teachers on Thursday continued with their protest on the non-payment of the TSS, wearing black band and black clothes to schools as a sign of mourning.

The state Secretary of the union, Mr. Olu Abiala, had last week ordered that, apart from the warning strike slated for every Wednesday, all the teachers should dress in black on Thursdays until the government met its obligation.

Abiala also handed down a 21-day ultimatum to the state government to implement the salary increase or face total strike.

But Akala said he was not moved by the antics of the teachers, accusing them of blackmail.

'They can't blackmail my government. There is no NUT executive here from my record, because the election in Akure is not legal. I don't care who emerges as the chairman or the executive, but what I am saying is that they can't hold an election in Akure and expect such to be binding on me.

Besides this, the governor said that the demand of the teachers would create disparity in the civil service and as such precipitate a fresh round of industrial unrest. 'Their demand will create disparity in the pay of civil servants. Teachers are on the same grade scale with the other civil servants. Are they saying I should pay them and detach them from the civil service salary structure? No, that will only create fresh tension in the civil service, which in effect would affect the finances of the government', he said.