Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: NLC, Teachers At War Over LG Autonomy

Abuja — A major crisis yesterday hit organized labour as the Nigeria Union of Teachers lambasted Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, President of Nigerian Labour Congress, for betraying the union's confidence and trust over his position on local government autonomy in Nigeria.

NUT is strongly not in support of local government autonomy, while the NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, are campaigning for autonomy to be granted to local governments in the country.

NUT President, Comrade Michael Alogba, in Abuja yesterday, berated Omar, who was also his predecessor at NUT for advocating local government autonomy, arguing that the autonomy would spell doom for teachers in the country.

He said: "The NLC President was the immediate past president of NUT and cannot pretend not to know the position of our union on this matter. We are not happy hearing him say that the National Assembly should not yield to pressure.

"We expect him to be our spokesperson. I think press may have quoted him out of context."

For instance, Olukoya argued that the whole nation's primary education would collapse if local governments were granted autonomy because they would not be able to afford the resources needed to sustain the schools effectively.

Olukoya further argued that the fallout of local government autonomy would also include non-payment of salaries of primary school teachers nationwide as well as non-remittance of 7.5 per cent counterpart funding from local government councils to the Pension Funds of primary school teachers nationwide.

He said the NLC President was not unmindful of the implications of local government autonomy based on the experience of 1990 to 1994, where teachers were owed salaries for months.

He said the plight of Nigerian teachers was alleviated with the creation of State-Joint Local Government Accounts, JAC, saying since its introduction, primary schools in the country have remained stable, devoid of industrial crisis.

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