The Nigeria Union of Teachers has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike following a continued threat to the lives of its members and students.
The union, therefore, called on government at all levels to ensure adequate security and 24-hour surveillance around schools in order not to escalate the disruption of the academic calendar “which is in a fragile state as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Secretary-General of NUT, Dr. Mike Ene, issued the strike notice in a statement obtained by PUNCH on Tuesday evening in Abuja, in reaction to the abduction of over 300 students in Government Day Science Secondary School In Kankara, Katsina State and other cases in the country.
The NUT said it was highly disturbed by the re-emerging incidence of school invasion and abduction of teachers and students across the country’s educational institutions. The statement read,
“The wicked and merciless hands of anti-education terrorists clinched Mr. Alu Ola Paul a Headteacher with Olagua Primary School Ohordua in Edo State, and Kidnapped him on his way to work on December 1, 2020 and released six days later.
“In the same view on December 8 2020, Mrs. Gladys Niemogha Belleh and Mrs. Blessing Emunefe both of whom are teachers of Ohorhe Secondary School, Effurun in Delta State were kidnapped in their school premises by armed bandits and are yet to be released, thereby throwing both families, students, and the school community into emotional and overall destabilization.
“Similarly, the night of Friday December 11 2020 Government Science Secondary School Kankara in Katsina State, was invaded by armed bandits with reports that 333 students are yet to be accounted for as at today, this dastardly act has sent shivers through the spine of other members of the entire school community of Katsina state.
“In light of these recent developments, the NUT may be compelled to down tools, pending when it is safe for our members to teach and guide our pupils and students without fear of abduction by these faceless enemies of educational prosperity of the Nigerian nation.
“The NUT herewith extend our appeal to all stakeholders to join hands with the government and security agencies to provide adequate protection for the students, pupils, teachers and the school communities, to ensure that educational activities are not hampered by enemies of the nations educational system using schools as soft targets.
“In order not to escalate the disruption of our academic calendar which is in a fragile state as a result of COVID – 19 pandemic, NUT unequivocally call on the Federal, States and Local government to ensure adequate security and 24-hour surveillance around our schools.
“Also the government must begin to consider the implementation of Life Insurance and Hazard Allowance to teachers in our Basic and Senior Secondary Schools as approved by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day 2020.
“Our prayers are with families of the abducted teachers and students as we hold unto government on their promise to ensure their safe release to be reunited with family members and relatives without further delay.
“These incidences are sad reminders of previous ugly events in Chibok and Dapchi, where Boko Haram terrorist had attacked and abducted students creating a monumental disruption of school activities and impeding our nations educational growth and advancement while subjecting family members and relatives to unimaginable trauma.
“The recent condemnable events of Bandits attack on schools, if not immediately addressed will largely affect the 2019/2020 academic calender which has already been disrupted by the six-month-long lock down caused by the COVID – 19 pandemic.
“As a union, the NUT will not fold her hands and watch enemies of educational development to threaten the nation’s educational system to suffocation. As such, we wish to remind our government at all levels, of their primary responsibility as enshrined in the constitution which is the security of lives and property of the entire Nigerian citizens.
“The NUT make bold to demand that government must rise to these challenges and take up its responsibility to guarantee and execute this general principle and commitment of providing adequate security to all our educational institutions and the nation at large.
“Unfortunately, it is becoming apparent that the government cannot provide security and safety of our teachers, students and the educational community across Nigeria. This unfortunate situation must be addressed without further contemplation.”