John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has given the state government a two week ultimatum to rescind its decision to sack 21,780 primary school teachers.
The union has also dragged the state government before the industrial court over the issue.
The teachers were said to have failed a primary four exam, administered on them during a recent competency test by the government.
The state government had already advertised for the recruitment of 25,000 teachers to replace those who failed the exam.
But at a press conference yesterday in Kaduna, theÂ NUT said arrangements had been concluded for an indefinite strike if the state government did not suspend the planned sack within two weeks.
State chairman of the union, Comrade Audu Amba, who read an open letterÂ to Governor El-Rufai during the press conference said it was
Initially agreed by all stakeholders in the education sector that the pass mark for the competency test be pegged at 60 per cent, while those who are unable to score up to 60 per cent be retrained.
â€œThe NUT, Kaduna State wingÂ as a responsible stakeholder in the educational sector even though aware of the position of the law as it relates to the body statutorily empowered to regulate the teaching profession, cooperated with the Kaduna State government under the mistaken believe that the intention of the state government was altruistic,Â in the sense that it is aimed at enhancing state.
â€œHowever, with the benefit of hindsight, we now know betterâ€ Amba said.
He regretted further that â€œin a classical display of bad faith which started as a rumour, the Kaduna State government unilaterally and arbitrarily pegged the pass mark for the competency test at an unprecedented 75 per cent
â€œThat, the NUT, Kaduna State wing wrote a letter to you,Â appealing to your conscience to rescind the decision above, but as usual,Â you ignored the letter and went ahead with your avowed determination to impose your will against the consensus of bonafide stakeholders in the educational sector.
Amba reads the letter further: â€œThe NUT subsequently as a last resort and in the spirit of constitutional democracy,Â rule of law,Â due process decided to approach the National Industrial Court, Kaduna division to adjudicate on the issue of whether the Kaduna State government has the statutory power to conduct the competency test and which Court processes have been served on you and the office of the Attorney General.
â€œHowever, contrary to all standards of decency in a democratic setting and in spite of the service of Court process on the Kaduna State government,Â you have gone ahead to publish on your tweeter handle,Â a list of teachers who purportedly passed the competency test by scoring 75 per cent and above.
â€œAll the above, leaves the Kaduna State wing of the NUT with no option other than to serve the instant notice in compliance with the wishes of its members expressed at the meeting of the state wing executive council held on the 6th November,Â 2017â€.