By Godfrey AKON
The Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, has disclosed that over 800 teachers have been killed in the North-East of Nigeria, warning that the growing security challenges in the country could lead to it withdrawing its services.
The NUT warned that if the insecurity was not redressed, it will withdraw teachers from some local government areas in some states in the Northwest over rising kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities ravaging the zone.
President of the NUT, Dr Nasir Idris, in an interview with journalists in Abuja at the weekend, asked the federal government to wake up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property.
“I can say that we have lost up to 800 teachers in the Northeast.
“And about the issue of banditry in Northwest, not that we have lost teachers but teachers are being kidnapped together with their children because some of these teachers said you can’t carry our students and go with them alone, carry us along.
“We can’t just allow you to carry our students alone. So, we have these problems honestly,” the union leader said while fielding questions from newsmen on NUT’s position on the kidnapping of a vice principal who was abducted a few days ago at one of the Abuja schools.
He added, “We want to appeal to the federal government again to provide security in our schools, not only security but enough ones so that they can man these schools where we are having problems.
“The problems are in some local governments in some states where we have this banditry, kidnapping, insurgency etc. We have lost a lot of members as far as this issue is concerned.
“Any place that the federal government does not provide enough security, we can’t just put our children and teachers in problems, that’s why we said that if the security isn’t going to be provided, definitely we are going to ask our teachers in those areas to withdraw their services. We’ve made this clear to the federal government.”
Idris also asked the federal government to make the teaching profession more attractive by fast-tracking the approval of policies on 65 years of age in service and 40 years in service as well as better welfare package.
According to him, classrooms at basic levels were already deserted, saying maltreatment of teachers by the federal, state and local governments have forced many people out of the profession.