Teachers in Kaduna State, on Monday, shut all the Primary Schools in the State as the face-off between Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) over the sack of 21,780 primary school teachers lingers.
The action is against the earlier warning by the State Government given through the Governor’s Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) Samuel Aruwan with a threat to dismiss teachers absent from their duty posts.
The Governor had further threatened that the State Government had assigned its Education Administrators to open register in various government-owned schools for detection and prosecution of teachers found absent at their place of work.
“There are reports that some headmasters/headmistresses have locked gates of their schools and barred pupils from gaining access. Our monitoring team are already out and we want to assure the good people of Kaduna State that these saboteurs will be dealt with. Please if you know any school that has been locked this morning, kindly report via direct message with name of the headmaster or headmistress and name of the school,” el-Rufa’i wrote on his Facebook page.
However, a visit to some primary schools within Kaduna metropolis showed that the directive issued by the leadership of NUT to commence indefinite strike starting from Monday, January 8, was strictly adhered to as schools were deserted.
At about 9:00a.m., LEA Primary School in Kawo, Kaduna North Local Government Area of the State, where pupils recently protested the sack of their teachers, the staff were seen in clusters discussing while classrooms were under keys and locks.
A female teacher who did not want her name in prints hinted that they were only in school waiting to officially receive notice concerning the strike from NUT, saying “from tomorrow, none of us will be in the school premises to teach.”
There was no sign of resumption at Sabon Gari Primary School and Maiduguri Road LEA Primary School situated within the Kaduna metropolis, as the schools remain ghosts of themselves.
The issues in contention were bordering on whether the State Government has a right to conduct competency test for teachers in the first place and whether it was justifiable to sack 90 percent of the alleged failed teachers at a go, but the Governor insisted that there was “no going back on his decision to reform education in the State.”
NUT Kaduna State Chapter has alleged plot by the State Governor to frustrate a ‘Court Order’ stopping the sacking of the teachers.
The State Chairman of NUT, Audu Titus Amba, and his counterpart in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ango Adamu, at a press conference, said the State Government disrespected the rule of law by acting in contrary to the decision of Industrial Court which stopped it from going ahead with issuance of sack letters to the affected teachers.