Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma

Teachers in Imo State under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Teachers NUT have foreclosed the resumption of schools in the state any time soon until all their accumulated seven-month unpaid salary arrears were cleared.

Chairman of the NUT Imo State chapter, Philip Nwansi, who spoke with news men in Owerri, the Imo State capital, said that the government had done nothing in settling their arrears of salaries despite several meetings with the State Governor, Hope Uzodinma on several occasions on the issue.

He said the Governor had in a meeting with the NUT some months ago promised to clear the arrears of salaries owed to teachers.

Our correspondent reports that many families, especially where both husband and wife are teachers have been subjected to untold hardship, a development that has been worsened by the several months of economic lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nwansi complained that up till the first week of September, salaries of about 2000 teachers in the State had not been paid for about seven months.

He said: “In Ngor Okpala LGA, no primary school teacher has received salary since March this year. In Owerri West and other LGAs also, many teachers are yet to receive their salaries.

“There is no way you can tell me that what is holding their salaries is BVN and the banks. We cannot believe that. You cannot tell me that the papers of all the teachers in Ngor Okpala are wrong.

“What we’re saying is that if every teacher does not get salaries up to date and if the union does not get its check-off dues, there is no possibility of schools reopening in Imo State.

“The union has not been running since March and the government is deducting the check-off dues and not remitting the same to the union. And if we don’t react, our members will never have full confidence in us anymore. They’ll think we’ve compromised.”

It was further gathered the fear of the teachers to reopen schools may also not be unconnected with the raging coronavirus pandemic which has not been properly contained in the state by the government.