As the strike by teachers in Kaduna State enters second day, most schools remain closed despite the threat by the Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i led administration to ‘dismiss any teacher who did not report to work’. The State Government has described the strike ‘illegal’ with a vow to dismiss any teacher who did not report to work.
Following the strike, academic activities in the State have been completely paralyzed as major schools within the metropolis were under lock and key.
The strike is in compliance with calls by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) on its members to embark on indefinite strike. Many of the schools remain a ghost of themselves. A teacher who craved for anonymity said they were complying with the strike action, following the State Government’s insistence on sacking teachers, despite the interlocutory injunction from court stopping them to take such action.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked Nigerians to hold Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i responsible of any breakdown of law and order in the State. President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, addressing newsmen on the current industrial crisis in the State, in Abuja, on Tuesday said that the Kaduna State Government sacked no fewer than 21,000 teachers, 4,000 Local Government workers and 8,000 workers from various State Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including tertiary institutions.
He described the action as an act of impunity against teachers under the guise of the competency test “deliberately programmed” to fail them.“It is also a spurious programme that goes by the name Public Service Revitalisation and Renewal Project, which are all a smokescreen by the State Government to fulfill conditions for accessing a World Bank loan,” he said.
Wabba described el-Rufai’s policy as inhumane and illogical in reference to rate of unemployment faced in the country, saying: “More worrisome are the grievous and negative implications of this in a State grappling with social tensions and societal ills such as kidnappings, armed robberies, killings among others.
“We make bold to say that no sane and humane society will contemplate such inconsiderate policy as a mass sack, talk less of implementing it at a time everyone, particularly policy makers have made us believe that the country is barely out of recession.
“Serious minds in both the public and private sectors are focused on reflating the economy, creating jobs and curbing all forms of social insecurity. Thus, we find the actions of el-Rufa’i totally inhuman and economically illogical, and not worth venturing into.
“It is apparent that el-Rufai’s approach is a clear violation and abuse of the tenets and provisions of our labour laws and well known international best practices, and are capable of exacerbating social tensions and societal ills in the state.”
“The Trade Unions had taken the path of conciliation under the auspices of the Minister of Labour and Employment and the National Industrial Court (NIC).
“To our consternation, el-Rufa’i did not only jettison the conciliation process but refused to obey the order of the court that all processes in the sacking of teachers should be put on hold.’’
Wabba also noted that on Jan. 3, 2018, the Kaduna State Government further issued letters of disengagement to thousands of teachers and their letters backdated to Nov. 3, 2017.
“Our concerns include the illegal and unacceptable processes employed by the Governor and their direct impact on thousands of dependants of the 36,000 workers and their families.
He said that the NLC had exhausted all processes aimed at constructive engagement with the State Government, adding that it must be stopped by all lawful means for the sake of Kaduna State and the Nigerian people.“Consequently, we shall commence a series of action with the first phase of protests in Kaduna on Jan. 11, to constitutionally defend the rights of the affected workers in the State,” the NLC president said.
The State Chairman of the NUT, Audu T. Amba said the Union was excited with the compliance, and promised to sustain the strike action.