From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Over 200 teachers in Benue state have died as a result of the on-going strike by primary school teachers.
It could be noted that teachers in the state downed tools eight months ago, to press home their demand for implementation of the minimum wage to them.
Some of the local chapter chairmen, who spoke to journalists on phone, regretted the de-humanizing way the teachers have been subjected to by the state government.
The chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Makurdi local government area, Comrade Benjamin Kwatamen said over 49 teachers have passed on due to the hardship they have faced, while his Kwande counterpart, Comrade James Faga lamented that they have lost more than 21 members with five of them already down with stroke.
“Many of them have been rendered homeless. They came to me crying and requesting that they now use classrooms as their residence. This is really pathetic. Government is very wicked”, Kwatamen decried.
It was also gathered that 11 teachers died in Otukpo local government even as twelve of them were said to have died in Gboko local government area.
Similarly, NUT Otukpo chapter chairman, Comrades Udeh Adoyi, and Gboko chairman, Charles Abuul, regretted that the teachers have fallen ill with stroke and other death-related sickness, wondering why the state government has remained adamant in not resolving the impasse.
The same ugly situation was witnessed in 18 local government area of the state.
Confirming this to Peoples Daily, the NUT state chairman, Comrade Godwin Anya affirmed that they have lost hundreds of their members across the state due to the strike.
Anya also maintained that the union and government have not reached any truce over the lingering rift, insisting that the strike will not be called-off until government agrees to pay the minimum wage to the teachers.