About 600 teachers who took advantage of the federal government’s service extension program are owed 23 months of salary arrears by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Defence. Despite extending their service in January 2021, these teachers were not paid as expected. In January 2021, the implementation of an elongation policy allowed over 400 education officers to become recipients of its benefits. This policy successfully increased the retirement age for teachers to either 65 years or 40 years in service.
Despite being instructed to continue their employment, the individuals were not remunerated until November 2022, accumulating over 23 months of unpaid salaries. Although their salaries were restored in December 2022, they encountered a disheartening realisation upon receiving their pay statements that the salaries owed were included, yet their bank accounts remained uncredited. Despite seeking clarification, IPPIS has yet to provide a satisfactory response. According to the teacher, they were mobilised throughout Nigeria, gathering data and incorporating a few copies of payslips, which were then submitted.
Teachers under the harmonised retirement age voiced concerns.
On October 13, 2023, the teachers under the federal ministry of defence who were deeply worried about the situation wrote a letter to the minister of education, Tahir Mamman. They urgently sought his intervention regarding the long-delayed payment of salary arrears for the pioneering education officers who fall under the harmonised retirement age for teachers. Despite faithfully and effectively carrying out their responsibilities, they were denied their rightful payment after reaching either 60 years of age or completing 35 years of service, despite following the guidelines outlined in Circular FME/HRM/S234/1 on January 26, 2021.
The Nigerian Association of senior civil servants, alongside the Federal Ministry of Education, embarked on a mission to uncover the reasons behind the significant disparities between their pay stubs and the actual amounts credited to their bank accounts. To streamline the payment process for outstanding balances, they urged members to submit their payslips and corresponding bank statements to the ministry’s IPPIS unit. This effort took place in April 2022. Despite the submission of all the requested documents, the outstanding amount was left unpaid.
Government aims to inspire Nigerians to pursue teaching careers.
Furthermore, the inception of teacher service elongation can be traced back to the earlier governance of President Muhammadu Buhari. This notable policy pertains to educators employed in select unity schools, as well as educational schools operated by the military and paramilitary forces. The Federal Executive Council took a significant step forward on January 20, 2021, by granting their approval to a proposed Bill aimed at augmenting the retirement age and tenure of service for teachers.
Adamu Adamu, the then education minister, provided an explanation regarding the bill’s purpose, stating that its primary objective was to obtain legal authorisation to raise the retirement age for teachers to 65 rather than the current age of 60 and service duration from the existing 35 years to 40 years. In April 2022, Buhari endorsed the harmonised bill into legislation, following Adamu’s suggestions. This bill aimed to incorporate various incentives such as bursary awards, special rural posting allowances, and other provisions intended to inspire talented Nigerians to pursue teaching careers. The implementation of this law was backdated to January 2022.
Retirement age and service year experience changes.
Lastly, it was on January 26, 2021, that the memo from the federal Ministry of Education encouraged teachers in unity schools to remain in service instead of retiring until President Buhari granted his assent. The memo designated as FME/HRM/S234/1 was issued to notify individuals of the decision made during the January 20, 2021 meeting of the Federal Executive Council. This decision entailed establishing the retirement age for the teaching profession. The implementation of this new arrangement commenced on January 1, 2021.