The Kaduna State Government has warned its school teachers not to obey the call by the Nigerian Union of Teachers to embark on an indefinite strike starting on Monday.
Academic activities are scheduled to resume in all government schools on January 8 across the state after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, earlier on Sunday called on all teachers to remain at home until the state government reverses its decision to sack over 21,000 primary school teachers who scored below 75 per cent in a competency test. The NUT said it had given the state government two weeks’ notice to rescind the decision, which has since lapsed.
Earlier in the new year, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, had also criticised the government’s decision to proceed with the sack despite a suit at the National Industrial Court on the matter.
However, in a statement signed by Governor El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, the government warned the teachers not to heed the call of the NUT.
“It has come to the notice of the Kaduna State Government that the state branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has declared an indefinite strike. This is an illegal action, and will not achieve its aim of derailing the education reforms being implemented by the government.
“The Kaduna State Government is not available to be blackmailed into knowingly retaining unqualified teachers. Neither would it mortgage the future of two million primary school pupils because failed teachers are shamelessly mobilizing sentiment.
“At the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Labour, the Kaduna State Government twice met in Abuja with the officials of the NLC and the NUT. The Governor Nasir El-Rufai personally led the Kaduna State delegation to the first meeting. During these interactions, Kaduna state made it clear that as an employer, it has every right to determine who its employees are or can be, and the minimum qualifications they must possess.”
Mr. Aruwan then declared the government’s threat.
“The Kaduna State Government wishes to inform the public that it has instructed its Education administrators to open registers in all its schools, starting from Monday, 8th January 2018.
“Any teacher that is absent from work will be treated with the consequences that pertain to absconding from duty under the Public Service Rules. There can be no doubt that state will take firm and decisive disciplinary action against personnel who absent themselves from duty, including dismissal from service.
“Kaduna State recalls that the NUT placed primary school pupils, who are the victims of failing teachers, in danger by pushing them into the streets to demonstrate for the retention of bad teachers. That ruse failed. Some union leaders are also likely to be prosecuted for assault, unlawful procession and destruction of public property when they attacked the State House of Assembly.
“The children of the poor are the ones that attend public primary schools. We owe them a decent standard of education, and we shall provide it.”