No end in sight for Benue govt, teachers’ face-off



There appears to be no end in sight in the over six-month-old total tool down embarked upon by primary school teachers in Benue state.
This is even so as the state government yesterday reiterated its stand insisting that “there is no money to implement the teachers’ demands for proper minimum wage.”
Governor Gabriel Suswam’s Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Solomon Wombo, who disclosed this yesterday at a news briefing in Makurdi, said government “cannot borrow money to run its machinery, but will administer with available resources at its disposal.”

He expressed dissatisfaction with the dwindling allocation accruing to the state in the last couple of years, stressing that what the state “receives from the federation account cannot accommodate salaries of primary school teachers in the state.”
He said over N2.2 billion was the least required to meet the demands for welfare package of teachers in line with the demand of 18 per cent minimum wage  of the over 24,600 teachers.

Wombo, however, assured that plans were in the pipeline for the teachers to call off the strike “so that the pupils can return to the class.”
According to him, about N5 billion meant for the payment of their cumulative salaries within the period of the strike is lying in a fixed deposit account at the First Bank ready for payment if the teachers agree to suspend the strike.

He said: “We have also worked out a new minimum wage which, we believe, is reasonable for them but they have turned it down; that, if they agree, their money is there and we cannot take many days to pay them. One of two days will be enough to pay their accumulated salaries.”

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