El-Rufai, NUT Head for Showdown over Sacked Teachers

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The Kaduna State Government and the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) are set for a showdown following threats by the government to dismiss any teacher who participates in the indefinite strike scheduled by the union slated to commence today (Monday).

The state chapter of NUT had directed its members to embark on the  indefinite strike to protest the sacking of 21,870 of its members, said to  have failed a controversial competency test conducted by the state government last year.

The state government had already commenced the recruitment of 25,000 graduates to replace the sacked teachers said to be unqualified.

In a strongly worded statement yesterday against the planned strike, the government warned that nobody can blackmail it into retaining unqualified teachers.

The statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, declared that any teacher who is absent from work would be dealt with according to public service rules, including dismal.

“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 mobilising sentiment,” the statement warned.

According to Aruwan, “At the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Labour, the state government twice met in Abuja with the officials of the NLC and the NUT.

“The governor, Nasir El-Rufai, personally led the state delegation to the first meeting.

“During these interactions, the state government 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.”

The statement said education administrators had been directed  to open registers in all its schools, starting from Monday (today).

Aruwan warned: “Any teacher that is absent from work will be treated with the consequences that pertain to absconding from duty under the public service rules.”

The statement said further that “there can be no doubt that the state government will take firm and decisive disciplinary action against personnel who absent themselves from duty, including dismissal from service.“The state government 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.”

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