Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, says his administration has to a large extent ensured that teachers in the state are happy through implementation of friendly policies that enhance the welfare of teachers.
Mr. Orji who was receiving the executives of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, (NUT) Abia State wing who paid him a thank you visit at the Government House, Umuahia, said that apart from promoting teachers in the state to the next salary grade level on assumption of office, it is only in Abia State that teachers are promoted to grade level 17 among other gestures to the teachers.
He however regretted that teachers in the state have not been fair to him as they have been in the vanguard of castigating his government for non-payment of their salaries, noting that many of them have become campaign managers to the opposition.
Mr. Orji said that some states in the federation were yet to implement the new minimum wage not to talk of the Teachers Salary Structure (TSS), maintaining that he is satisfied with himself that his government has not done badly in the management of teachers’ welfare.
According to him, he cannot deliberately owe teachers their salaries to punish them and attributed the inability of government to pay to the economic meltdown currently affecting every state across the country.
He said despite mounting criticism of his administration by teachers and the opposition, a recent World Bank assessment of states which placed Abia 4th in performance in the federation has shown that the state government has done well.
Mr. Orji commended committed teachers who despite all odds have continued to discharge their job creditably and attributed their work as being responsible for the performance by Abia students within and outside the state. He said that N200 million had been released for payment of teachers’ salaries.
The state chairman of the NUT, Abia State wing, Akparanta Chizobem thanked the governor for fulfilling his promise as primary school teachers in the state have started receiving the TSS scale which was removed from their salaries before now and for his pronouncement that teachers are not directors who should retire after 8 years on the seat. He thanked the governor for paying teachers’ salaries and creating policies to improve their welfare.
He however pleaded with the Governor to direct the appropriate government authorities to document it for implementation so that incoming governments will not reverse it and pledged their total support for PDP in the coming elections.
According to him, the NUT Abia State wing has fully endorsed Mr. Orji for Senate, Okezie Ikpeazu for governor and other PDP candidates at state and national levels.