Taraba teachers protest non-payment of salaries

Darius Ishaku, Taraba State Governor
Darius Ishaku, Taraba State Governor

Hundreds of teachers in public schools in Taraba State on Monday abandoned the classrooms to embark on a protest.

The teachers also said they were embarking on special prayer and fasting for payment of their salary arrears by the state government.

The teachers said they are owed between three and eight months of arrears, but the state government has denied it is owing the teachers.

From the early hours on Monday, the teachers converged on the Yamusala Eid prayer ground in Jalingo to seek divine intervention in the matter.

Speaking later on behalf of the teachers at the entrance of state House of Assembly, their leader, Mohammed Mustapha, said the non-payment of salaries had brought untold hardship to the teachers.

Mr. Mustapha expressed surprise at the state government’s claims that it had paid all teachers’ salaries.

“You will recall that Governor Darius Ishaku, while presenting the 2017 Appropriation Bill, told the House of Assembly that the state does not owe teachers.

“That claim is not true; some teachers are owed eight months, some five, others three,” Mr. Mustapha said.

He said efforts to get the state government to pay the entitlements had failed, forcing the teachers to take their case to the assembly.

One of teachers, David Bako, said though the fasting and prayer were voluntary for both Christian and Muslim teachers, it would continue until the arrears were paid.

“We resorted to seeking divine intervention as our governor kept mute and closed his eyes on the plights of we teachers.

“Many of us are in traumatic conditions, some of us have been ejected by landlords,’’ he said.

Addressing the protesters, Kizito Bonzena, Chairman, House Committee on Education, assured the teachers that the assembly would look into their complaints.

He advised them to remain calm, law abiding and orderly.

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