Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday called on government at all levels to prioritise the payment of salaries and general welfare of teachers at all levels in order to secure the future of the country.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, to mark this year's Teachers' Day, also congratulated Nigerian teachers and their counterparts the world over for their sacrificial contribution to the advancement of knowledge and by extension, world civilization and development.
Saraki reiterated his earlier call that Teacher's salaries should be included as an item in the capital vote of the budget to enable them receive their salaries and allowances as at when due.
Saraki said: "There is an overarching need to prioritize teacher's welfare so as to enable them continue to discharge their duties creditably and effectively particularly in this age of knowledge. It is only by doing that that we eliminate a situation where people either reluctantly go into the profession or go into it as a last option
"It is a well established fact that teachers occupy a pristine place in our drive towards progress and development as a nation. Moreover, Teachers are the custodians of the repository of knowledge and as such should be seen as an integral partner towards an enduring development of our educational sector.
"Issues of capacity building, training and re-training of teachers across the various tiers of our education architecture must form a fundamental aspect of our policies and national strategic plans. We must make deliberate and concise effort to boost teachers' confidence and welfare. Every teacher must be assured of a minimum safety net during their pre and post retirement life.
"Our teachers must be effectively protected by the existing pension schemes irrespective of their level of engagements i.e. Federal, State and at Local Government levels. Our teachers remain critical to the change we most earnestly desire in our educational sector in particular and the nation in general. We cannot afford to treat them any less," he stated.
He also called on teachers to rededicate themselves to their all important duty of spreading knowledge and banishing ignorance.
"Our teachers must possess the necessary wherewithal for effective discharge of their assignment," he said.