As Nigeria joined the global community to mark World Teachers Day, some state governors yesterday expressed worry over the increasing rate at which school teachers in the country are getting addicted to drugs.
They urged the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to assist state governments in addressing the menace, saying drug addiction is becoming rampant among teachers.
The governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu noted that the government was also disturbed by the scale of absenteeism among teachers.
In his address to mark the World Teachers’ Day in Birnin Kebbi at a ceremony organised by NUT and Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Bagudu said the two unions must partner the state government to address the situation.
He said, “If we pay lip service to lapses in our educational system, we are throwing away the future of our children and our tomorrow’s leaders.
“I was at a community recently during one of my inspections to schools in the state and one of the elders of the community told me that nine out of the 11 teachers in that school are drug addicts and they are well known in the community”.
The governor observed that the education sector in the state must be made better for it to produce young people who would compete with others from across the country.
He urged the unions to take urgent measures to check their members involved in drugs and those absenting themselves from work.
“If we don’t agree as a people to give priority to education, we are toying with our destiny”, Bagudu added, even as he disclosed that his administration has spent N700 million on the payment of WAEC and NECO fees of final year secondary school students in the state.
Admitting that teachers’ welfare was essential in getting better results, he pledged to give it priority.
“Though it is difficult, we feed the pupils, provide chairs and desks for them, but we will also make sure that teachers in the rural areas are made comfortable by providing accommodation for them”, the governor declared.
In Plateau, the state governor, Simon Lalong, has recruited 5,253 ad hoc teachers as part of efforts to address shortage of teachers in the state.
The executive chairman the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof Mathew Sule, who disclosed this, said the state government has also trained more than 700 teachers to enhance their capacity in order to provide quality education.
In Nasarawa, the state government is to recruit additional 2000 school teachers to add to the man power in the education sector.
Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed Tijjani, made government position known during this year’s World Teachers Day celebration in Lafia.
The commissioner also assured teachers in the state of improved welfare and full payment of their salaries.
He said, “We felicitate with teachers in Nasarawa State and their counterparts elsewhere in the world and appreciate their input in the overall development of the society.
“We are changing the face of teaching in the state, beginning with basic education with series of capacity building programmes designed to equip our teachers with new teaching methods and equipment for the challenges of the modern world”.
On his part, Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, yesterday announced automatic promotion of all primary school teachers in the state who are graduates from grade level 14 to 15.
He also presented car gifts, with a weeklong holiday in London or Dubai, to all best teachers in the category of primary and secondary school as well as the headmaster general of the state.
Speaking during the celebration of Teachers’ Day held at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti, Fayose who lauded the teachers’ efforts in getting the state to come tops in NECO for two consecutive years promised that his government will continue to prioritize the welfare of the teachers in the state.
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