Confusion trails teachers strike in Ogun

The union of secondary school teachers shunned the strike.

Confusion, on Monday, trailed the strike embarked upon by teachers in both primary and secondary schools owned by the Ogun State Government.

The national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, last Thursday called for an indefinite strike in some states, including Ogun, over government’s refusal to pay their 27.5 per cent teachers’ peculiar allowance.

However, in Ogun State, there was confusion, as the NUT and the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASUSS, disagreed over the indefinite strike called by the leadership of the NUT.

PREMIUM TIMES investigation revealed that while some school authorities complied with the strike; others shunned the order and embarked on classroom work. Some schools were picketed by the NUT authority, with students asked to go back home.

The ASUSS, however, distanced itself from the strike, arguing that the call was not binding on its members who were predominantly in the secondary schools.

The State President of ASUSS, Tunde Folarin, who spoke with journalists in Abeokuta, maintained that secondary school teachers in the state were not on strike. He stated that his monitoring team went across the three geo-political zones in the state including Ijebu, Yewa and Remo to ensure that secondary teachers resumed for duty as expected.

Mr. Folarin emphasised that ASSUS would tackle some skirmishes experienced in the state capital, arguing that the NUT had no right to send students back home from schools.

“We don’t want anybody to mingle ASUSS members with NUT members. You would have seen now that NUT membership in secondary schools is very few. So for now, there is no strike. Ogun State is not on strike. Primary schools teachers may be on strike,” he declared.

“I have been to Ijebu. The whole of Ijebu is working. In fact, I am proud to say that in the school of the NUT chairman, there is working going on there. That is to tell you that ASUSS is solidly on ground. The whole Remo is working; the whole Yewa/Awori is working and majority of the schools in Egba zone are working except few skirmishes where we had the NUT members, who went round the town very early in the morning in Abeokuta zone and started turning students back home”.

In his own response, the state NUT chairman, Dare Ilekoya, faulted and countered Mr. Folarin’s claim, insisting that the strike grounded academic activities in the state secondary schools. He explained that the skeletal classroom work in some schools in the state capital was as a result of late distribution of circulars from the national body of the union.

“The strike recorded 100 per cent success across the state. It was complete compliance in Abeokuta. I am not disputing that there were classes in some schools but as soon as our circulars got there, they stopped teachings. In a short word, the strike was effective,” he said.

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