In a concerning development, over 600 teachers in Nigeria’s federal civil service, particularly under the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Defence, are owed 23 months of salaries. This situation arose despite the service elongation package for teachers introduced by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Federal Executive Council, on January 20, 2021, approved a Bill to increase the retirement age and service years of teachers. This Bill, aimed at enhancing the teaching profession, increased the retirement age from 60 to 65 years and extended service from 35 to 40 years. President Buhari signed this harmonised Bill into law in April 2022, with retrospective effect from January 2021.
However, despite directives from the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Defence to continue service, these teachers have not received their salaries since January 2021. Their salaries were reinstated only in November 2022, with the arrears still pending. The affected teachers, expressing their plight, noted that their payslips reflected the total arrears owed, but their bank accounts remained uncredited.
A letter to the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, dated October 13, 2023, from some affected teachers, appealed for intervention in the payment of these salary arrears. The Nigerian Union of Teachers, aware of this situation, is working towards resolving the issue. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has begun verification of all teachers in armed forces schools for proper planning and administrative purposes.
The plight of over 600 teachers in Nigeria, awaiting 23 months of unpaid salaries, is a distressing reflection of the challenges within the public sector. The delay in implementing the well-intentioned service elongation package for teachers has resulted in significant financial hardship for those dedicated to educating the nation’s youth.
This situation calls for immediate action and accountability from the relevant ministries. The government must honour its commitments to these educators, who have continued to serve despite the financial uncertainty. The delay in salary payments not only affects the teachers’ livelihoods but also undermines the morale and stability of the education sector.
We urge the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Defence to expedite the process of clearing these arrears. It is essential to demonstrate a commitment to the welfare of educators, who play a crucial role in shaping the future of the country. This situation also highlights the need for more efficient administrative processes within the public sector to prevent such occurrences in the future.
Did You Know?
- Teacher Retirement Age: The retirement age for teachers in Nigeria was increased to 65 years to retain experienced educators.
- Public Sector Salary Delays: Delays in salary payments are a recurring issue in the Nigerian public sector, affecting various professions.
- Impact on Education: Financial instability among teachers can adversely affect the quality of education and student performance.
- Policy Implementation: Effective implementation of policies is crucial for their success and the welfare of beneficiaries.
- Teacher’s Role in Nation Building: Teachers play a pivotal role in nation-building, shaping the minds and futures of young citizens.