Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 9 January 2018 | 1,803 times
Teachers in Kaduna State said they are in a state of fear and confusion as many resumed duty on Monday, despite the directive by the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) to commence indefinite strike.
The Kaduna State Government had warned its school teachers not to obey the call by the NUT to embark on an indefinite strike that started yesterday.
Academic activities were scheduled to resume in all government schools on January 8 across the state after the Christmas and New Year holidays but the NUT had 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 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,” Mr. Aruwan said.
A visit to many of the schools in Kaduna showed that many of the teachers resumed to sign the attendance register, in defiance of the NUT’s directive and for fear of being sacked by the governor.
The State Government said it has instructed its education administrators to open registers in all its schools, starting from yesterday, January 8, 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,” part of the government statement warned.
“We have resumed work since morning waiting to sign the attendance register. We love our job our and we have many families and dependants to take care of. But nobody to give us the attendance register to sign. Though some officials of our Union came to disperse us and few pupils who resumed and to ensure all classes are locked, but many of us are still hanging around up till closing hours,” the teachers hanging around in groups at Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) Primary School Ungwan Muazu 1&2, who do not want their names mentioned and their photos taken, said.
They said just about three out of 83 teachers from the school who scored below 75% in the last competency test were issued sack letters during the holiday.
“Many of us scored above 75% in this school, but we are in a state of confusion and fear. We want you to plead with the governor to resolve this crisis with our union so that they can open the classes and allow us to start lessons fully,” another teacher in a group at LEA Muhammad Kabir Umar, Zango Road, who also did not want her name or photos taken, said.
The gate of Maimuna Gwarzo Primary School, Tudun Wada, was under lock when our reporter visited. A group of the teachers seen seated across the road, said the union officials chased them out of the school and put it under lock.
“But we do not want to leave, hoping that an attendance register will be brought for us to register our attendance, to avoid being sacked by the governor.
“Jobs are hard to get, so we do not want to lose this one, please. We appreciate the union’s effort, but, we are not sure if they can save us if the governor decided to punish us for complying with the strike,” the teachers said.
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