April 11, 2015 – The Lagos State Government has defrayed all the allowance it is owing teachers in the state following upward review of Teachers Salary Scale (TSS). The Lagos State Government owed the teachers 27.5 percent of the reviewed TSS until last week.
The teachers had in addition alleged that government has failed to pay their allowances including leave allowance, utility allowance, housing allowance and transport allowance in the past five years.
Speaking at a meeting with the Lagos State Government, Chairman Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr. Adesegun Raheem said teachers in Lagos are indeed very happy that they voted for General Buhari and that their votes counted.
He thanked the State Government for paying the balance of their allowance, stating that the teachers would always remain supportive of government’s effort.
The Chairman urged the Vice President-elect to ensure that all the intervention funds that are available to the educational sector such as the Educational Trust Fund are made available to the educational sector in Lagos.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye commended the present administration for welfare programmes put in place for teachers. She also commended the Vice President-elect for finding time to meet with teachers in the state, saying interesting times await stakeholders in the educational sector from May 29.
Speaking at the occasion, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said his journey in the saddle of leadership in Lagos is coming to an end, but that he appreciates the efforts of the teachers since education is not a short distance race.
He said it is only those who have the grace of long life that can possibly see the end result, reiterating that from the baseline of less than 10 percent record performance in public examination, the state has recorded a steady growth close to 50 percent at the last examination.
He stressed that when the state conceived the EKO Project, it was roundly criticized by some uninformed critics who said the state was borrowing too much to provide self- independence and autonomy for school administration to bring about better performance.
He said the same critics are now complaining that education is being underfunded by the present administration in the state, maintaining that his government also gave a commitment that it would not retrench any worker and it has maintained that promise.
He added that Lagos has always been the place where the thinking capacity for the country resides, adding that when the appointment of Tutors -General was introduced, it was derided by many states, but that today, several states have embraced the idea.
Governor Fashola said 24 years ago, the federal capital was moved out of Lagos and that 16 out of those years have been managed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He urged those who voted for the APC not to regard all those who voted against the party at the last elections as their enemies but should see them as people they can convince on the need to vote for the APC.
Speaking at the event, Vice President-elect, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that Lagos State wants to take a pre-eminent position in the running of the new Nigeria and that Lagos State would be the template for the resuscitation of the nation’s educational sector.
Osinbajo added that the opportunity to be at the centre is very important especially for education because education and healthcare are two important areas for the incoming Buhari administration.
“And if you look at all that we have been saying in our manifesto, one thing that is very clear is that we are going to spend a lot of time and resources on education especially public education. This is only one of the many consultations that we intend to have”, he said.
Osinbajo noted that the state stand in good stead to get things done now. “Fortunately for us, I am from here because it also means that there would be direct access, myself, the commissioner for education, the state government will have direct access, it would be much easier for us to do a lot of the things we intend to do”.
He said that there are also plans for the introduction of free education for science and technology, engineering and mathematics and free education for teachers especially at the tertiary level, adding that for teachers who want to go to university there would be free education.
“One of the issues we have is that we now have the centre; we are in control of the Federal Government. It is a very crucial moment in the history of our state because this state has always provided leadership and direction and has always provided the leadership in education, healthcare and in the administration of justice. We have always provided leadership but we have also always suffered because we have always been in the opposition.
“Everything we have done has been at great cost. We have gone to court several times fighting for the rights of our state and each time we have had to go there, we knew we could have settled it if we were at the centre”, he explained.