Armed Policemen Numbering Over 50, Last Weekend Tear Gassed Primary School Teachers In Kogi State For Protesting Nonpayment Of 2014 November And December Salaries.
Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Armed policemen numbering over 50 at the weekend tear gas primary school teachers in Kogi State during a protest over nonpayment of 2014 November and December salaries as well as other entitlements and allowances. The teachers under the aegis of Basic Education Staff Association of Nigeria, (BASAN) who converged at Nataco junction were on a peaceful protest to the office of the State Universal Basic Education Board after their chairman had addressed them when the police who stormed the area to prevent them from the protest. Some of the teachers while running for safety sustain injuries while those who could not run were seriously assaulted by the police who warned them to abandon the protest.
Addressing journalists before the police attack, the BESAN chairman, Comrade Adomu Sule, said the protest was in reaction to the statement credited to the Chairman of SUBEB that the state government did not owe basic education teachers. “ State government owes teachers in Ajaokuta, Ofu, Okene, Olamaboro and Omala local government council November 2014. Government is also owing us 2014 December salary.
We have not received leave bonus for five years while incremental/ promotion allowances has not been paid, yet the government claimed they are not owing us, “ he said. According to him, what worries the basic teachers was the propaganda by the state government and SUBEB, in order to mislead the general public on the plight of the teachers who died of heart attack and high blood pressure occasioned by deprivation. “ We are out today to let the world know that the Kogi State government is owing basic education teachers in the state.
We also want the federal government and the public to know how government is killing public school. They have all removed their children from public schools to private schools and as such whether public school is dead or not, they are not bothered about it,” he said. While calling on the federal government to intervene in the matter, Adamu said no amount of intimidation would stop them from demanding their right, adding that they will use legal means to ensure that their entitlements are paid.
Meanwhile, one of the teachers, Asabe Audu, 53 ,wondered why the police should attack them when they are protesting peacefully without obstructing economic activities. Showing bruises on her hand, she lamented that a police officer she taught at LEA primary school, at cantonment area of Lokoja was the same officer who tear gas her. Effort to speak with the chairman of SUBEB, Mallam Nuhu Ahmed, was unsuccessful as he was said to be out of office when our reporter visited his office.