The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Association Institutions (NASU) in schools and colleges in Nigeria, Akwa Ibom state branch has protested the alleged discriminatory policy of the federal government to only extend the retirement age of teachers.
Consequently, the union demanded that the federal government should also extend retirement age of the non-teaching staff as they remained key component in education sector.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu, at the 2020 World Teachers Day Celebration at Eagle Square, Abuja, announced incentives for teachers in Public Basic and Secondary Schools which include extension of the retirement age of teachers to 65 years and the years of service to 40 years from the current 35 years as well as special salary scale and enhanced allowances.
The protesters walked through the state secretariat carrying placards with inscriptions, “what is good for the teachers is good for the non-teaching staff”, “we are as qualified as teachers, don’t deny us what belongs to us”.
Others were, “discriminatory tendencies will destroy school system”, “NASU rejects discriminatory policy”, among others.
Addressing the protesters in Uyo on Wednesday, the state Chairman of NASU, Mr Aniefiok Simon, said the presence of the non-teaching staff in school environment was critical, wondering why the government should exclude them in the benefits accrued to their counterparts.
Simon, noted that qualifications carried by their counterparts were the same owned by the non-teaching, stressed that there was no justification to favour the teaching staff while ignoring them.
“We are out here today to express our anger because government extended some benefits to the teachers excluding the non-teaching, and, we are all working in the same educational environment.
“It is very wrong for government to only favour the teaching staff and excluding the non-teaching staff. The qualifications they have for whatever reason that government is using to give them that privilege, non-teaching staff also have the same qualifications.
“If government is given them an extension for retirement age that should also be given to us. That is why we are expressing anger against government policy today,” he said.
Receiving the protesters, the board chairman, State Basic Universal Board (SUBEB), Mr Paul Ekpo, commended the protesters for exercising their right peacefully.
Ekpo, represented by the board director, Mrs Mary Eka-ette, assured that the management of SUBEB would look critically into their demands and its decision would be made known to them appropriately.