The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Abia chapter continued its protest in Umuahia on Tuesday, demanding an inclusion in the approved Special Teacher Pension Scheme, even as the members danced around the State Secretariat where the Abia State Ministry of Education is situated.
The protesters came from the Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB) and Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) in buses.
Our reporter explained that the three-day protest which entered its second day, had the crowd also marched to the Abia House of Assembly and the State Ministry of Education.
They chanted songs to express their grievances, while displaying placards with different writings and inscriptions. They include: “NASU rejects discriminatory policy,” We are as qualified as teachers,” among others.
At the Abia State House of Assembly, the protesters were received by the Permanent Secretary/Clerk of the House, Mr John-Pedro Irokansi on behalf of the Speaker, Mr Chinedum Orji, who was on another official engagement.
The state Chairman of NASU, Mr Hope Ekwuribe requested that the workers interest should be accommodated by the government in the ongoing scheme.
Similarly, the Chairman of NASU (ASUBEB), Dr Isidore Ibebuike, regretted that federal government announced the incentives for teachers in public basic and secondary schools in the country in October 2020, leaving out non academic staff.
He therefore urged the federal government to include the non-teaching staff in the approved Special Teacher Pension Scheme to guarantee better welfare for them in retirement.
Ibebuike stated further that the federal government should also extend their retirement age to 65 years and length of service to 40 years, stressing that the union was demanding an end to all discriminatory industrial relations practices against the non-teaching staff in the primary and post primary school system.
In his comment, the Chairman of NASU (SEMB), Mr Okpe Arum-Okpe, explained that the protest was to remind the government that teachers were not the only workers in schools and that the union was demanding that the government put in place training programmes for members, with a view to enhancing their productivity.
Addressing the large crowd of the protesters, Irokansi thanked them for their peaceful protest.
His word, “Mr Speaker has heard what you said and we on our part, will make sure that justice is done at the appropriate time”.
At the State Ministry of Education, Umuahia, Mrs Ola Agomuo, Director of Administration, Ministry of Education, who received them on behalf of her Permanent Secretary, Mr Eze Ajuzie expressed gratitude for their peaceful protest and assured them of the onward transmission of grievances to the appropriate quarters.
“Your message will be conveyed to the Permanent Secretary undiluted,” she assured
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.