The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Niger State chapter and the state government are set to clash over deductions from teachers’ salaries for the running of computer training and purchase of Ipad computers for teachers in secondary schools.
The government and Youths Empowerment Education Initiative (YEEI), a non-governmental organisation, had reached an agreement for the training of secondary school teachers to make them computer literate and to also ensure they (teachers) had Ipad computers.
Under the agreement, according to investigations, the government is to foot the cost of the programme by about 40 percent while the teachers are to each pay the balance of 60 percent.
On a monthly basis, it was gathered that each teacher in the secondary school would have not less than N2,200 deducted from his or her salary on a monthly basis.
The scheme was said to have started last year by the immediate past administration of Governor Babangida Aliyu.
However, according to the investigation, while the teachers have honoured their part of the agreement, the government was reported to have reneged on its part of the bargain, making the non-governmental organisation to abruptly stop the training and distribution of the Ipad computers after only a negligible fraction of the teachers had benefited from the exercise.
Worried by the development, the state chapter of the NUT was said to have put a letter of protest through to the Ministry of Education asking the government to ‘immediately’ put a stop to the deductions from its members’ salaries.
In the letter, a copy of which is in possession of our correspondent, sent to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education titled, ‘Re: Internet Training and Supply of Zinox IPAD tablets for secondary school teachers in Niger State,’ dated October 14, 2015 and signed by Comrade Labaran Garba, NUT Assistant Secretary, the union said ‘no deduction should be effected from the salary payroll of secondary school teachers as September 2015 was the last month for the payment of the 60 percent ZPAD agreed upon to be paid by the teachers’.
The union further advised the Ministry of Education to request the NGO to provide a detailed report on the training programme zone by zone from inception to date.
The letter said the “continued silence and non-response by state government to pay the 40 percent balance for the training and payment of ZPAD systems would compel the union to take a more lawful alternative step that will press home her members demand”.
“It is our hope that this issue will be taken with all seriousness it deserves,” the letter concluded.
Efforts to get the Permanent Secretary, Niger State Ministry of Education, Shuaibu Mohammed, were abortive but a senior official in the Ministry who preferred to remain anonymous confirmed the receipt of the letter.
“I can confide in you that we received this letter you are talking about and other ones. We are already working on the letters. I think from this month the deductions will stop”.