The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) in Abia on Monday staged a protest in Umuahia over their exclusion from incentives for teachers by the Federal Government.
The protesters came from the Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB) and Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB).
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the crowd marched to the Government House and Office of the Head of Service, chanting songs to express their grievances.
They displayed placards with different inscriptions, such as “Discriminatory tendencies will destroy the school system,” “FG, approve 65 years and 40 years retirement for NASU members,” among others.
The state Chairman of NASU, Mr Hope Ekwuribe, said the three-day protest was holding simultaneously nationwide and had nothing to do with what obtained in Abia school system.
Ekwuribe expressed the hope that Abia Government would implement the policy once approved by the Federal Government.
Also, the Chairman of NASU (ASUBEB), Dr Isidore Ibebuike, said that federal government announced the incentives for teachers in public basic and secondary schools in the country in October 2020.
Ibebuike said the incentives included the extension of the retirement age of teachers to 65 years and 40 years from the current 60 and 35 years, respectively, amongst others.
“Unfortunately, the non-teaching staff in the school system were excluded from this government’s gesture,” he said.
He said 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.
He said that members were also demanding their inclusion in the approved Special Teacher Pension Scheme to guarantee better welfare for them on retirement.
According to him, they also want the federal government to extend their retirement age to 65 years and length of service to 40 years.
The Chairman of NASU (SEMB), Mr Okpe Arum-Okpe, said: “We wish to remind the government that teachers are not the only workers in schools.
“The non-teaching staff in the basic and post primary schools possess requisite certificates and complement the teaching staff.”
Addressing the large crowd of the protesters, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu thanked them for their sense of responsibility and maturity in organising a peaceful protest.
Ikpeazu, represented by his Chief of Staff, Anthony Agbazuare, an Associate Professor, assured them that their message would be conveyed to the federal government.
The Abia Head of Service, Mr Onyii Wamah, respresented by Mr Okey Ihedioha, said their demands were not outrageous and promised that his office would give them the necessary support. (NAN)