Teachers in Osun state in Nigeria continued to strike last week, after the state government failed to honour a commitment to pay them in full salaries and pensions owed for January and February. After they agreed to suspend their action, in response to the commitment, they only received 50% of the money owed to them. While other civil servants have returned to work, a statement from the Osun branch of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) said: 'as against the spirit of the agreement, the state government only paid half of a month’s salary to our teachers instead of two months. The NUT has resolved to continue with the strike until the agreement signed by the government is honoured.'

As we reported last week, teachers in ten of the 36 states in Nigeria are owed salaries, despite the fact that the country has the highest growth rate in Africa. While foreign oil corporations and local elites continue to enrich themselves from the abundant resources under the earth, 61% of the population live in poverty. Meanwhile, according to reports, Nigeria has lost $217.7 billion over the last 30 years through corporate tax avoidance.

As though the situation was not stark enough, we read reports last week of a mass prayer meeting in Kogi state,led by both imams and priests, aiming to save education from collapse. Teachers and other education workers gathered in large numbers to pray that the government would spend the necessary money to enable teaching and learning to happen - many schools have no sanitary facilities, some have no walls or windows, class sizes can be vast. They also prayed that their unpaid salaries should be restored to them. As one speaker put it: 'Since government has abandoned us, we have to turn to God for help. We want God to touch our leaders’ heart to have a listening ear, pay us our outstanding salaries, leave allowances and other entitlements and (create an) environment conducive for children to learn'.