By John Mkom
JALONGO—AGGRIEVED primary pupils and their teachers yesterday shut down Jalingo, Taraba State capital, barricading major streets and the gate of Taraba State Government House, over unpaid teachers’ salaries and other benefits.
The protesting pupils gave the government 24 hours to pay their teachers or they would shut the government house.
The pupils who trooped into the streets very early in the morning, from different locations, barricaded major roads, including Hamarua road, the main road that leads into the town and Donga Road Round About hindering motorists from accessing Taraba State government secretariats.
They equally blocked Jalingo Bye Pass preventing students from going to the state University and converged at the gate of the Taraba State Government House.
The protesters were led by a human rights activist, Bello Mustapha, who said the pupils were demanding that the primary school teachers in the state were paid immediately.
Mustapha who spoke to journalists, lamented that primary school teachers in the state were not paid for between seven and 10 months.
However Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Taraba State chapter, condemned the protest, urging the pupils and the teachers to give government time to sort out the abnormalities in the omission of the affected teachers’names on the state government payroll during the biometric exercise.
Deputy Chairman, NUT Taraba State, Chapter Garuba Yusuf, told journalists at the union’s secretariat that the union had been engaging the state government for correction of the abnormalities in the payment of teachers salaries.
He called on the government to speed up actions to clear the arrears of the primary school teachers to ensure industrial peace in primary schools in the state.
Speaking, Commissioner for Education, Johana Njingem, accused the opposition party of instigating the protest.