Claims by the Kogi State Universal Basic Education Board that it mistakenly overpaid teachers in public primary and junior secondary schools in the state N1.6 billion in excess of their salaries between September 2013 and December, 2014 has been generating controversies.
Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Mallam Nuhu Ahmed told journalists in Lokoja that the mistake was due to a faulty payment chart.
He said the amount was the one month wage bill of all teachers in government owned primary and junior secondary schools in the state, adding that government was at a crossroads over the matter.
Ahmed who was reacting to a peaceful demonstration by teachers over the non-payment of their December, 2014 salary, said that the teachers received the salary without knowing it.
But the state Chairman of Basic Education Staff Association of Nigeria (BESAN), Ohino Baiye disagreed with the SUBEB’s position, insisting that no teacher in the state was paid December, 2014 salary as claimed.
Baiye said instead, salary payment to teachers since Ahmed assumed office in February this year, has been fraught with anomalies such as omissions and underpayments.
He cited the case of teachers in Okene, Ajaokuta, Omala, Ofu and Olamaboro Local Government Councils who he said just received their November, 2014 salaries a few days ago as a result of omissions.
BESAN chairman also listed non-payment of leave entitlements, promotion/incremental step allowances and non implementation of the new minimum wage as some of their demands, calling on the state government to pay or face industrial action.
The teachers also accused SUBEB of paying only 65 per cent of their monthly salary in July, alleging that N840 million out of the N2.146 billion released for payment of their July salary was withheld.
But the SUBEB chairman said the Board was unable to pay full salary to teachers in the month of July, because only N1.32 billion was released as against the N2.146 billion claimed.
He said N136 million out of the amount was used to pay retired teachers while the balance was used for the payment of July salary.