Teachers in the Benue Province of Nigeria were continuing their strike this week over the state government's failure to pay them the minimum wage. 

The wage  - $113 a month - was brought in for all civil servants, with only primary school teachers being left out. Last June, the state government agreed to pay the minimum wage but only on the basis of firing thousands of teachers and closing some schools, in order to fund it. This duly went ahead, despite militant protests by the teachers, and yet still the minimum wage is not forthcoming. As the chair of the parents' association in the state said when the dispute started last June: "Though the reward of teachers is in heaven, it is pertinent to compensate their efforts here on earth."

This is only the latest example of the lamentable state of education in Nigeria. A bitter battle is still ongoing between the higher education union ASUU and the federal government. Lecturers have been on strike for months, not just over their pay but also over the low spending on universities in the country.

Not only do teachers have to cope with appalling conditions and poverty pay. When they take action to improve the situation, they are often attacked brutally by the police. Teachers in Benue state were attacked last April with tear gas and batons. And two students campaigning for free higher education and decent conditions were killed by the police earler this year.

Nigeria is the fifth largest exporter of oil and the eleventh of natural gas in the world. With the help of massive investments by the World Bank and thanks to its good offices to enable an environment which is business friendly, corporations like Shell are making mega profits from the country, even as they lay waste to the natural and social environment. Meanwhile the World Bank sheds crococile tears over the failure to provide education for all and blames the teachers.