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Edo teachers defy Gov. Obaseki, insist on indefinite strike

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The Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), has defied the directives of Governor Godwin Obaseki for teachers in the state to resume work on Monday, February 1.

They insisted they would continue on their indefinite strike which they embarked started on January 18.

The teachers urged parents and guardians to keep their children and wards away from public primary schools as they would not be forced to call off their strike.

The Edo State NUT was reacting to a ‘No work, no pay’ directive issued by the Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, on January 29, where he warned the state wing of the Union. and the striking primary school teachers that failure to resume on February 1 would lead to the forfeiture of their salaries and allowances.

“This is to inform parents, teachers and the public that public primary schools in Edo State shall resume full activities on Monday, February 1.

“Parents and guardians are expected to make their children and wards ready for resumption on this date (February 1). Government wishes to re-emphasise that all public school teachers and head teachers are required to be present in their schools.

“Failure to resume work will be considered forfeiture of salary, as the Edo State Government has activated the no work, no pay policy.

“Head teachers and teachers who are desirous of staying away from work, in support of the sponsored strike by certain elements of the Edo State Wing of the NUT, are required to hand over school property in their custody to their education secretaries,” the circular had warned.

Read also: Edo teachers reject pension scheme

But in a statement jointly signed by the state Chairman of NUT and the Assistant Secretary-General Pius Okhueleigbe and Mike Itua, respectively on Sunday, the union said it was resolute in “ensuring that freedom for displeased primary school teachers must be now or never” and they will continue on their strike until the government meets their demand.

The statement added that the state NUT had not called off the indefinite strike, urging the public to ignore the misinformation and propaganda of the Obaseki administration.

Part of the statement reads:

“The attention of NUT, Edo State Wing, has been drawn to some pronouncements purportedly made by the Edo State Government, with regard to the ongoing indefinite strike embarked on by public primary school teachers and school heads in Edo State since January 18.

“Obaseki’s administration, on January 29, through the Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG), Mr. Osarodion Ogie, issued a threat of ‘No Work, No Pay,’ among others, to the striking teachers, with effect from February 1.

“Ordinarily, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State Wing, would not have bothered to respond to the said pronouncements because they were directed at the ‘National Union of Teachers,’ a body unknown to the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but considering some parts of the pronouncements that bear teachers’ issues, currently in dispute between NUT, Edo State Wing and Edo State Government.

“The indefinite strike by public primary schools’ heads and teachers, which started on January 18, is still very much in force, hence on Monday, February 1, it will continue unhindered in the 18 local governments of Edo State.

“NUT Edo State Wing enjoins public primary school heads, teachers, parents, pupils and the public to disregard threats, blackmail, intimidation, announcements, pronouncements and moves from any quarter, aimed at discrediting the indefinite strike.

“None of the anti-democratic tactics of Obaseki’s administration would affect the unshakeable resolve of NUT Edo State Wing and its members in ensuring that the primary school teachers’ 10-point demands were met.

“NUT Edo State Wing calls on well-meaning residents and institutions in the state to prevail on Obaseki’s administration to meet the demands of the teachers, instead of embarking on arm-twisting and deploying unproductive shenanigans.”

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