Teachers Died Without Their Pension
By Emmanuel Edukugho, Vanguard (
the swirling economic currents of rising cost of living, fuel price hike,
low wages, high rents, widespread poverty, low purchasing power, and
prevalent recession, unpaid pensions of retired teachers is sending many
of them to the great beyond.
President of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mallam Abdulwaheed Ibrahim
Omar has disclosed that many retired teachers have died across the country
without being paid their pensions.
to dwell once again on an issue, which he noted has for years dominated
several discussions, NUT had with the government, including agitations and
clamour, in spite of which nothing has so far been done to address it,
is the age-long problem of unpaid pension rights to teachers who retired
from our school system, particularly primary schools, since 1994. These
teachers have remained since retirement in many states, without their
gratuities and without pension. Many have died. Many more are sick and
cannot afford the high cost of medication. Not a few have been thrown into
destitution, undue dependence and state of extreme hunger, disease and
leader of Nigerian teachers painted this pathetic portrait of his
erstwhile colleagues at the occasion of the 2003 celebration of the World
Teachers' Day marked last week at the
Omar said the NUT seriously doubts if the prevailing predicament of
retired teachers constitute the appropriate reward for hard work by senior
citizens of this country, who have spent their youthful and adult years in
the service of their fatherland.
to him, it is the contention of the union that in keeping with the
national slogan of ensuring that the labours of our heroes past are not in
vain, the plight of these retired teachers should be put on the front
burner of the nation's fiscal consideration.
should be made to receive the Federal Government's immediate and very
urgent attention by ensuring the release of funds to pay off all backlog
of pensions and gratuities owed teachers since 1994," Omar pleaded.
warned that government should not wait until the affected teachers
relocate from their various states to take over all the strategic streets
teachers have so far had to bear their present situation with sordid
caution and hope, that someone, someday, will hearken to their call for
justice. Let us hope that this added clarion call made on a day such as
this will add pep to the realisation of the desire of the teachers."
NUT president congratulated the entire teachers of
urge all teachers to remain steadfast and committed not only to the ideals
of our chosen profession, but indeed to the tenets and objectives of the
assured that NUT is poised more than ever before, to serve the teachers of
however pointed out it is heart-warming that the various governments in
the country are currently reassessing their posture towards education and
teachers, with a view to redressing the ills of yesteryears.
was made by the NUT president about the commitment and determination of
the Federal Government to embark on the registration of professional
teachers in the country through the Teachers' Registration Council (TRC)
as "a prelude to the long-anticipated professionalisation of
also touched on what he described as the concerted efforts and positive
measures taken so far to institutionalise a Teachers' Salary Structure (TSS)
for the teachers of
the National Council on Education (NCE) to give expeditious ratification
to the Teachers' Salary Structure as was approved unanimously by the Joint
Consultative Committee on Education (JCCE) so as to have it implemented
without any further delay, Omar declared:
is no doubt that by doing so, we will be recording our names individually
and collectively for posterity by our contributions in giving education
its rightful place of pride and glory after many years of neglect and
nation's Number One Teacher explained that the theme for this year's World
Teachers' Day celebration, "Teachers - Opening Doors to a Better
World" has been carefully chosen to reflect the very essence and role
- expectation of the teacher in the society.
it is commonly known, teaching is the oldest profession in history whose
practitioners engage in exposing all manners of people to varied
life-situations which in the long run, open them up to a better
Omar lamented: "Ironically, the teacher has, for too long, remained
confined, strapped and almost totally forgotten in his small world of the
classroom and school environment, in an austere state of dilapidation and
neglect; and out of school, in a state of societal rejection and social
denial, lacking due recognition and appreciation."
his own speech, chairman of NUT, Lagos State Wing, Comrade Michael Alogba
Olukoya, made it clear that the union will never be tired of highlighting
the squalid and pathetic position of retired teachers.
is not the best way to reward a meritorious service. It is both
terrestrially and celestially abominable. God condemns oppression and
injustice of any shape or size and the death that strikes our contemporary
is by our bedpost. We shudder to think that a similar fate may just befall
us in no distant future. Nothing can be more demoralising," he
if re-echoing the lamentation of Omar on the plight of retired school
teachers, Olukoya raged: "Poverty they say is better experienced than
imagined. The pathetic condition and untold hardship, which our retired
colleagues are going through is unimaginable most especially the retired
primary school teachers. These senior citizens who have meritoriously
served the state in their prime are subjected to serious humiliation while
their legitimate entitlements are being denied."
described as deliberate, the neglect of these retired primary school
teaching staff by the government, some of whom have neither been paid
gratuities nor placed on pension since 1998 to date - "an action
which is not only worrisome but barbaric to meritorious and selfless
services by these individuals."
alleged that the Lagos State Local Government Pensions' Board, custodian
of funds meant to cater for both retired local government workers,
segregated (discrimination) against teaching and non-teaching staff in the
primary schools in disbursement of funds by this agency.
to the NUT chieftain, the panacea to these problems require the readiness
of the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission and the Local
Government Pension Board to rightly apply the content of the government
enabling circular on their issue and implement the various approved
percentage increase in pension allowances.
it is the desire of all to live and eat the fruits of his/her labour, it
is therefore most necessary now, to urgently place the retired primary
school teachers on monthly pension to save them from psychological,
emotional, and mental trauma, even, from untimely death. The union with
all modesty opines the need to legislate on creation of Lagos State
Primary School Pension Board as a means to providing a long lasting
solution to this age-long problem."
soothing balm came from the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Olakunle Lawal,
when he told the gathering that teachers' welfare receive prompt attention
from government, adding: "it is our determination to ensure that the
teacher is not unnecessarily marginalised in the scheme of things."
mentioned two major developments already taking place in
education commissioner acknowledged there are a few issues that government
and teachers need to work out. But those issues are not in any way a
reflection of any disdain for teachers. Rather, they constitute part of
our collective problem and growing up experience.
revealed Governor Bola Tinubu has directed that teachers' salary be the
vote of first charge in the payment of salaries to
emphasised that since government appreciates the importance of teachers as
catalysts for fundamental change and transformation in our society, they
will continue to be exposed to high-tech, conducive and attractive working
environment, good training and staff welfare.
to the theme - "Teachers: Opening doors to a better world," it
is appropriate in this period of national effort to regenerate our society
towards better moral and spiritual direction.
charged teachers to contribute their own quota towards a better society by
being prompt in attendance at school and offering their pupils and
students the best in terms of teaching and counselling. They should resist
the temptation to engage in illegal admission, aiding and abetting
examination malpractice and other immoral and improper conduct.
Vanguard investigation shows that over one million teachers in the
education sector entitled to pension rights are in a state of distress
across the country due to grossly inadequate funding of the pension scheme
which has almost collapsed.
a verification exercise is going on in
Teaching Service is conducting its own verification alongside civil
servants within the same period at the
pensioners are expected to show up with originals of their letters of
first appointment, letters of confirmation of appointment, letters of
retirement, pensioner's identity card and their bank account numbers.