The governor says the sacked officiasl refused to pay salaries after money had been released
Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State has fired the chairman and members of the State Universal Education Board, SUBEB, accusing them of diverting salaries meant for primary school teachers.
The officials were involved in widespread corruption, and had been removed over “mismanagement and dishonesty” the governor said Thursday.
He explained that investigations into complaints of non-payment of salaries of primary school teachers’ emanating from SUBEB revealed widespread corruption.
“There was gross misappropriation and dishonesty; we gave them a long rope but they failed,” the governor told journalists in the state capital, Lokoja.
“One of the things I did was to give the SUBEB chairman time and I asked him to give me his own deadline to clear all the salary arrears.
“He said he would clear them before Easter period and I told him that I will hold him responsible if he failed and he said I should trust him.
“But after that, I was still getting complaints upon complaints that he still owed teachers’ salaries from January till date, and a responsible government cannot do that,” he said.
The governor noted that a critical element for quality education was quality teachers, adding that an unpaid teacher could not be a quality teacher “no matter how bright the teacher is.”
“You must pay teachers for the work they do and the money for SUBEB to do so is there as money is deducted every month for the payment of teachers’ salary.
“It is not about lack of money but mismanagement,” he said.
Mr. Wada said he gave members of the board enough time while collating evidence about the mismanagement going on at the board.
He said that a committee he constituted, headed by Steven Aku, to investigate the board, cleared the arrears of teachers’ salary up to March.
The governor said the issue led to strike by members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, in the state.
While the strike had been officially called off, the teachers have threatened to not go back to their classrooms until the arrears of their salary were cleared.
The governor assured that the committee would likely pay the outstanding arrears till May in a fortnight to enable primary schools re-open.