No fewer than 101 striking primary school teachers in Benue State have lost their lives within the past eight months that they have been away from work following the state government’s inability to meet their demand for the minimum wage.
National secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Teachers’ (NUT), Abuja had ordered the state chapter in Makurdi to down tools in November last year after series of meetings it held with the state government failed to yield desired results.
The government on its part evolved several strategies including a proposed cut in salaries of its work force to enable it satisfy the yearnings of the teachers but none of the measures has worked out so far.
The Makurdi NUT chairman, Comrade Benjamin Kwaghtamen, said he lost 49 teachers while his counterpart in Gboko Local Government Area, Comrade Charles Abuul, put death toll in his domain at 12 following non-payment of their salaries for several months now.
Similarly, the chairman of Otukpo NUT, Udeh Adole, disclosed the death of 11 teachers just as his Kwande colleague, James Faga said 21 teachers died in his locality as well as Comrade Jilaji of Vandeikya Local Government Area who confirmed the death of eight teachers in his area.
State chairman of the NUT, Godwin Anya however told newsmen that he could not confirm the exact number of teachers who have died within the period as he was yet to collate the figures from the 23 local government areas.
When contacted, Special Advi-ser on Media and Public Affair to the Governor, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, expressed optimism that the teachers would soon resume work as negotiation between the NUT and the government is in progress.
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