More than 500 teachers protested in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital yesterday against any plan to grant autonomy to the local government.
The teachers said their salary should not be ceded to the councils.
The teachers, who are members of the Oyo State Wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), insisted that payment of primary school teachers and the funding and management of primary schools should not be given to the local government
The rally took off at the Agodi State Secretariat of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). It was led by the Chairman, Comrade Niyi Akano. Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Waheed Olojede also joined the protesters.
The protesting teachers went to the Oyo State Government Secretariat to deliver a protest letter to Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards carried by the teachers read: “the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Oyo State Wing says no to local government autonomy. Basic education is a right of every child”, “Local government councils do not have the capacity to pay primary school teachers salaries”, “Basic education is a right and must be protected by all”, “Foundation of education in Nigeria under threat again”
Others read: “Pay teachers regularly for a sustainable primary education”, “Our children’s future must be secured”, “Funding of primary education should be the responsibility of the state and federal government”
Akano said the rally was not a protest against salaries arrears but a fight for the soul of primary education in the state and the country.
He said experience had shown that the local government tier lacked the capacity to run and fund primary education effectively, particularly because that is the bedrock of education.
Olojede maintained that allowing the local governments to take charge of primary school education is a good way of sending the sector back to the woods.
He recounted that the period between 1990-1994 when local governments enjoyed full autonomy was the worst for the sector as many teachers were at the mercy of council bosses before getting their salaries and entitlements.
The union leader said should the Federal Government insist on granting autonomy to the local government, issues such as managing, funding and equipping primary schools should be transferred to the state governments.
He further suggested that payment of primary school teachers’ salaries and entitlements should be left with State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
Oyo State Deputy Governor Moses Adeyemo received the protest letter on behalf of Governor Abiola Ajimobi.