Sunday Adepoju, a member of the House of Representatives from Oyo State, lashed out at his colleagues for “playing to the gallery” in discussing matters about teachers’ welfare.
Mr. Adepoju expressed his exasperation when lawmakers deliberated on teachers’ salaries and benefits as part of National Assembly’s commemoration of 2016 World Teachers’ Day.
“You’re all here talking about teachers,” Mr. Adepoju said. “But I must let you know that only a few are really serious about this matter, most are just here playing to the gallery.”
Mr. Adepoju said even Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who had some experience in teaching, also did little to raise concerns about worsening social and economic situation of those in the august profession.
Mr. Dogara raised the topic under matters of urgent national importance after the House resumed plenary on Wednesday.
But Mr. Adepoju said only a drastic action would suffice and not rhetoric.
“Those in the banks have opportunities to take loans and earn special salaries. They have special benefits; but only our teachers suffer,” Mr. Adepoju said.
Mr. Adepoju said it is time to “device a means for teachers to earn extra incomes” in the country.
“If they have other functions that could earn them extra pay, that would go a long way,” he said.
Other lawmakers who contributed to the topic canvassed better living and working conditions for Nigerian teachers.
Teachers have been some of the most affected as public workers in different states are unpaid for several months. In some cases like that of Bayelsa, students have been at home for over 6 months due to a strike embarked on by unpaid teachers.