FCT minister wades into Kuje teachers’ strike dispute

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Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello has waded into the dispute between Kuje Area Council Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Suleiman Sabo and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), the FCT Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Comrade Stephen Knabayi, has said.

Recall that the teachers in the council had declared an indefinite strike over the sack of 1030 primary school teachers early this month.

Knabayi, who spoke with Journalists shortly after one of the meetings organised to resolve the dispute in Abuja, also disclosed that the minister had directed that the parties involved should promptly resolve the contending issues to enable closed public schools to reopen for children to go back to classes without further delay.

The NUT chairman said the matter at stake concerned the future of education in Kuje and not only the affected teachers, who according to him, were employed but were later sacked during an election year by the same administration which confirmed their appointments last year.

Declaring the action as a huge political miscalculation, Knabayi called on the FCTA, parents and other critical stakeholders in education to call the Kuje chairman to order and to compel the council to treat teachers with greater respect.

The NUT Chairman advised the Kuje Area Council chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Suleiman Sabo, to recall the affected teachers and cautioned that disengaging teachers at this time has political disadvantages and will greatly reduce the capacity of under-staffed public schools in the area council to deliver quality education.

While asserting that the NUT will resist and defend the rights of its members, Knabayi alleged that the Kuje administration has been known to maltreat teachers for no just cause.

He affirmed that the laid down procedures of sacking civil servants were not followed in the disengagement of the 1030 teachers, stating that a teacher can only be sacked when found culpable of an offence after due investigation.

“We are presently on strike because of about 1000 teachers in Kuje Area Council of the FCT who were sacked. They were recruited in 2018 far before Sabo became the chairman of the council.

“We are not saying that if anything is wrong, you should not correct it but, you should not stay in your office alone and generate issues that are not known to the leaders of the teachers (involved).

“We are always ready to meet with the chairman on several occasions to resolve issues. We have to understand the issue together and work together, but in this case the chairman is not always available in any of our meetings,” Knabayi further stated.

On the elongation of teachers’ years of service as approved by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President, the NUT chairman pointed out that only Kuje, out of six area councils, has not implemented the decision stating that it was surprising especially as the matter has already been gazetted and  are being implemented everywhere.

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