Salary Arrears: Bayelsa govt. calls for dialogue

The Bayelsa Government, on Thursday urged teachers in public schools, protesting 10-month salary arrears to seek dialogue rather than protesting on the streets.

The state Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Dr Agatha Goma, gave the advice while reacting to the protest by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) on Thursday in Yenagoa.

Members of the state chapter of NUT took to the streets of Yenagoa, demanding that the state government takeover funding of primary schools from the local govern among other demands.

Goma said the teachers acted within their rights to demand for better condition of service, adding that the state government empathised with them in their struggle for improved funding.

The commissioner, however, said such an important issue was better resolved through creative engagement with stakeholders rather than on the street.

She assured the teachers that the state government would continue to work with the local governments to ensure the setting up of a robust revenue generation mechanism for increased funds for the councils.

According to the commissioner, the state government will continue to pursue policies that will guarantee regular payment of salary to all categories of workers in the state.

“Yes, it is the statutory responsibility of the council to pay the primary school teachers. I am sure the councils are also conscious of this responsibility.

“There is, however, too much gap between the councils’ revenue and their financial obligations.

“Despite various interventions from the state government, it is difficult for the councils to meet up their obligation.

“This situation is not peculiar to Bayelsa. One assurance I will give, however, is that government is considering all viable options to solving this problem,’’ she said.

The chapter has given the state government and local government areas 30-day ultimatum to clear the salary arrears owed primary and secondary schools or face withdrawal of service.

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