By Our Reporter
Management of the newly constructed Teachers Continuous Training Institute (TCTI), Biase in Cross River State havebeen accused of massive extortion of teachers from the state.
The school management had allegedly asked Principals and Vice Principals of secondary school in the state to pay as much as N16,000 as registration fee for a training exercise billed to take place later in the year.
The three day training, according to a staff of the institute, is an exercise that will be carried out on a yearly basis.
However, the development did not sit well with teachers who openly lamented about the process. According to our source, while the training itself is a good one the process of registration including the directive for compulsory payment by the management even with the obvious financial constraints in the country shows the management does not mean well for them.
One Principal who spoke on the basis of anonymity lamented that, “although we are not against the training exercise, the compulsory payment of N16,000 is unfair to us as we do not have the wherewithal to afford such exorbitant amount”.
Another Principal who for fear of intimidation also pleaded anonymity said, “We have not had our promotion implemented for over 3 years, yet they want us to pay N16,000 for a three-days training, pay our transport to Biase and still pay for accommodation. It is totally unfair”
Training of teachers at the institute was initially declared free according to the state government.
Special Adviser to the state governor on Education, Castro Ezama who spoke with our reporter confirmed it. “The Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Ben Ayade had promised that training in the institute will be free.”
When asked about the position of the Nigerian Union of Teachers on the issue, a teacher told our reporter that “The Union is aware and has not done anything about it, despite the toll this is taking on teachers, we are like orphans with no one to speak for us”.
Attempts to reach the the leadership of NUT in the state was unsuccessful as at the time of this report.
Meanwhile, some member staff of the school almost lynched a journalist who was at the West African People’s Institute, WAPI, venue of the exercise to investigate the process.
The staff physically attacked the journalist and threatened to kill her. “we will kill you here and nobody will know. We will accused you of attempt to kidnap a baby and nothing will happen. What is your business here, we can do whatever we like so better go away” one of the attackers said.