Some public school teachers in Kaduna State have lamented that over 7,000 of them are being owed salaries and other entitlements.
The affected teachers were hired by the administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai in July 2021 after approximately 62,000 applicants took an aptitude test, out of which 14,000 were later screened as prospective teachers by the Kaduna State Teachers Service Board (KSTSB). 7,600 candidates were ultimately recruited from this group.
It was also learnt that the teachers were not assigned to their various jobs until ten months after being hired.
“We were given letters of appointment in July 2021 and we stayed at home doing nothing for 10 months after that. It was in May this year (2022) that we were posted to our schools to start work and since that time, the government has not paid our salaries.
“It will be seven months of working without salaries and other entitlements on December 17 (this month),” one of the affected teachers told SaharaReporters on the phone.
Another teacher, who spoke to SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, said the situation has forced him to have a side job to pay his bills, which is affecting his teaching job.
“The situation is no longer funny. When I got this job, I thought my financial income would now be stable and I would be taking care of my family without ‘wahala’ (problem). But this is December, the government has not paid a kobo. How do they want us to survive and continue working without our salaries?
“This was why I ventured into something else to take care of my family. Even though I love my job as a teacher, I can only go to school if I have money. And this is affecting my job as a teacher; too much distraction,” the teacher said.
He added that the lack of communication between the state ministry of education and the new teachers has worsened the situation.
An incident like this is why Kaduna is one of the states with over half a million pupils who do not attend school.
In July, A coalition known as Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM) said the state contributes 654,990 to the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, with the girl child constituting a large number.
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters reported in September that a law to forbid underpayment of wages, pensions, and other emoluments, as well as late payment of salary, was approved for a second reading by the lower chamber of the National Assembly – the House of Representatives.
The proposed law aims to make it illegal for employers to owe wages and other benefits. Such employers are subject to the punishments outlined in the statute.
For instance, if wages are unpaid for more than 60 days, the employer faces a 30-day jail sentence.
According to Section 2 of the bill, “Every employer of labour in Nigeria, whether private or public, and whether it is employing any worker on permanent or contract basis must ensure that all payment of wages, salaries, pension and all benefits to workers are paid promptly without delay weekly, fortnightly monthly, quarterly or yearly as may be agreed by parties in the contract of employment of the additional individuals”.