The Workers and Youths Solidarity Network (WYSN) on Wednesday called on the Nigerian Government to immediately meet the demands of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and ensure that universities are reopened immediately.
WYSN also congratulated the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) on the occasion of World Teachers Day.
It lamented that despite all of the vital role teachers play in developing the economy, they are grossly underpaid.
The group urged the government to immediately raise the payment structure of teachers, introduce improved welfare packages and establish policies in favour of the families of teachers.
This was made known by the Secretary of the group, Damilola Owot, who called on the federal, state and local governments to begin the process of reviewing the remuneration scheme of teachers in order to give them a decent income.
According to Damilola, NUT must prioritise the need to fight all forms of neo-liberal capitalist attacks as part of the stand it has to take for teachers.
The statement read in part, "We acknowledge the role of teachers in the building of the country, especially in raising, training, and tutoring competent youths into becoming those who will bear the responsibility to drag Nigeria out of poverty and misery.
"Indeed, teachers are builders of the future! Similarly, we reject the current woeful welfare packages provided for the teachers and we call on the government to immediately raise the payment structure of teachers, introduce improved welfare packages and establish policies in favour of the families of teachers.
"We also call on the Federal Government to immediately meet the demands of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) – who are also teachers – and ensure that universities are reopened immediately!
"World Teachers’ Day was established to appreciate teachers and to honour them with respect to their enormous work and tremendous impact on the community and the nation at large.
"We cannot imagine a Nigeria without teachers! For us in WYSN, the role of teachers is grossly underestimated, under-recognized, and under-appreciated.
"Without teachers, many skills, abilities, expertise and attitudes would be wasting and rotting in the streets! Right from a child’s tender age, teachers have been the ones tutoring, mentoring, encouraging, advising, tailoring, and guiding every Nigerian child towards discovering his/her self, developing relevant skills and becoming useful individual who can advance the scientific and humanitarian discoveries that have brought us this far!
"Teachers give their time, skills, expertise, wisdom and talents to raise and develop other children into useful persons. Because of teachers, workers, doctors, professors, engineers, accountants etc. are not roaming about the street but contributing their own quota towards improving and advancing nature.”
The group called for “better welfare packages, including but not limited to scholarships for children of teachers, full health care insurance, free access to basic infrastructures (land and homes), grants and interest-free loans, among others”.
"While we celebrate our teachers, we cannot but call on the government to immediately meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who are currently on strike demanding an improved payment structure, improved funding and adoption of UTAS, among many others,” it added.