By Emma Amaize
PATANI— CHAIRMAN of Patani Local Government Area, Transition Committee, Delta State, Mr. Chris Ekiyor, has said that it was not the constitutional responsibility of local government areas to pay the salary of primary school teachers.
He called on the Federal and State Governments to remove the burden from the councils to enable the third tier of government address pressing developmental needs at the grassroots level.
Ekiyor, in an interview with Vanguard in Patani, on how to improve council administration in the country, said: “First, the burden of teachers’ salary should be taken away from councils. In Patani, we lose N33 million, whether you have higher or lower allocation, which ordinarily can go to infrastructural development.
“I looked at the provision on funding, the constitution says local government should assist in education, it did not say that it should pay teachers’ salaries. The local government can assist in many ways, either by renovating dilapidated structures or donating educational materials, but not the burden of paying salaries.
“I think primary school teachers’ salary should be paid by State and Federal Governments as they do in a unified salary scheme. Why should the councils pay salaries of teachers that are not under our control? Even after appointing a secretary to the Local Government Education Authority, he is no longer under your control.
“The other thing is that there should be upward review of funds to councils for better development of the grassroots; this is the core of the problem facing the people. Councils are supposed to be stopgaps for the state government, and state governments are stopgaps for the Federal Government. Therefore, revenue allocation should be re-adjusted to favour local governments.”