The Plight Of Newly Recruited Unity College Teachers

Over three years since the federal government employed new teachers of the Federal Unity Colleges under the Presidential Employment Waiver which gave them the opportunity to serve Nigeria as civil servants teachers, the employees have not being paid, according to investigation.

The teachers were employed in 2018 under the Federal Ministry of Education as Teachers/Education Officers and deployed to the Unity Schools across the federation.

But over three years after their employment, the inability of government to pay their salaries and its arrears of two years and first twenty eight days duty allowances has put the employees to severe hardship. Expressing their grievances in an interview with NAN, the teachers pleaded for an immediate action towards the payment of their salaries and allowances.

They thanked president Buhari for the approval of their employment under the 2018 Presidential Employment Waiver which gave them the opportunity to serve Nigeria as civil servants teachers but called on the government to consider their plight and pay them.

One of the affected teachers, who pleaded anonymity, said “It is really saddening that since our assumption of duty to date, our salaries and allowances have not been paid. We have worked for about three years plus without any remuneration whatsoever.

“We have been left hungry and angry for working for our dear country. Our families have become weary of this penury occasioned by the delay in the payment of our salaries and allowances.

“We are resourceful, talented, energetic and progressive young Nigerians who want the best for this nation. Instead of being encouraged, we’re being discouraged and given this maltreatment for working hard to make this country great.

“It has become so hard for us to keep working without any salary, allowance and accommodation. How can we be effective and productive, when we are left hungry and without resources to take care of ourselves and families?

“We appeal for an immediate payment of our salary and its arrears of two years and first twenty eight days duty allowances,” he added.

However, their plea is coming at the time the federal government has assured that the employees will be migrated into the Integrated Personal and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, gave the assurance in Abuja recently, while responding to questions on the non-payment of salaries of teachers recruited into the scheme by the Federal Ministry of Education. Echono who confirmed that there were irregularities in the employment exercise of some of the teachers, emphasised the challenges this posed to the Ministry as well as the Head of Service and the Civil Service Commission.

He said, “It’s a very unfortunate incident that keeps us awake because it is a comedy of errors but the reality is that there was a cause for it; this thing started with the cases of irregular employment. “This was discovered but many of the teachers recruited were legitimate officers; they were properly employed and documented but unfortunately there was a huge spike in the recruitment exercise and when this was noticed an embargo was placed.

“This coincided with when the newly employed teachers were ready to be migrated to IPPIS and it took a very long time to resolve all the issues surrounding the matter”. Echono added that the joint efforts between the Head of Service, Civil Service Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education made it possible to find out the irregular exercise in the recruitment, hence the embargo had been lifted.

“But the security network operating within the ministry, civil service commission, head of service and all the people involved decided to beam the activities to resolve the problems,” he said. He said that embargo has since been lifted on their employment and many of the teachers have been invited for biometrics and would soon be migrated for onward payment of salaries.

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