Abuja - Many parents of pupils in primary and secondary schools have described as justified the threat by members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) to embark on a strike.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that NUT members had threatened to go on strike over the non-implementation of the minimum wage payment by some states.
The parents, however, appealed to the union to return to the negotiating table to "avoid any further destruction of the children's future.’’
A cross-section of parents who spoke with NAN on Thursday in Abuja appealed to governments in the affected states to start paying the new minimum wage.
They said this would help to avoid industrial action and its consequence on both children and parents.
The North-Central Co-ordinator of the National Parents Teachers Association(NPTA), Malam Danladi Aliyu, told NAN that parents would support any action taken by teachers because ``their demand is justified.
``N18,000 is not too much to ask for someone who is defining your future, and that is what teachers do. Teachers deserve more than that and these states have the money. So, they should pay.
``Aliyu noted that Nigerian teachers, in spite of being good, have not been given the opportunity to give their best to the profession due to lack of incentives.
``Teachers are trying their best. But how can they give their best when they are not rewarded and encouraged?
``We should remember they also have families to cater for, and without adequate earnings they can't do that and concentrate on their profession,'' he said.
The NPTA official said parents would not agree to teachers being cheated or used anyhow because the future of the Nigerian child depended largely on them.
``Teachers must be well paid. But if they are not and they decide to down tools, they have our support," Aliyu said.
In his reaction, Mr Gabriel Dangana of the Works Department, Nasarawa State Polytechnic, however appealed to the NUT to re-negotiate with the state governments for the sake of the students.
The official, who described the development as unfortunate, said parents and students were always at the receiving end because strikes did not often achieve the desired results.
``At the end of the day, the issues will be resolved. But it is at the expense of students who have been forced to stay at home.
``The days and months lost as a result of the strike cannot be regained and students will be made to go for crash programmes which subsequently affects their performance negatively,’’ he said.
Mr Isaac Aduwa of IEI Anchor Pensions, on his part, told NAN his proposed strike is a major setback for the education system in Nigeria.
He urged state governments to "consider the plight of parents, the future of our children and intervene on behalf of teachers".
A student, Innocent Dimas of the Federal University of Technology, Yola, appealed to both government and teachers to embrace dialogue to save children from "languishing at home".
He said while the teachers had every justification to take such action, time has proved that strikes do not always achieve its aims.
``The teachers deserve better, but they are poorly treated and not paid their entitlements as at when due,’’ Dimas said.
The NUT had earlier in the week threatened to go on strike by the end of this month over the non-implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage for teachers by some states.