Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has insisted that there is no amount of resistance that will make his government rescind its decision to sack over 21,780 teachers.
His statement is coming on the back of a protest by the state chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday, coupled with the industrial action held by the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teacher (NUT) due to the sack.
The government has also been served with backlash from some Nigerians since its decision to fire the teachers said to have failed a competency test it organised.
However, while speaking on a Channels TV programme on Thursday night, the governor said there is no going back on the sack.
He said: “We have already taken second, third and fourth looks at this situation. We have studied what previous governments have tried to do and there is no going back.”
“I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are not going to reverse our decision; these teachers are gone, we are going to employ new teachers.”
“The process of testing and interviewing the 25,000 teachers we are hiring to replace the 21,780 that we have fired is on and we are going to go ahead with it.”
The governor added that the state decided to take the step because “it is the children of poor that go to public schools.” and so, “we are committed to ensuring that they get decent public education as I got it when I was growing up in Daudawa in Katsina state.”
“I went to a public school and I got decent education. I was orphaned at the age of eight but I got free, basic education and that is why I am where I am,” he added.
“I intend, at whatever price, at whatever cost to bequeath that to children of ordinary people in Kaduna state. There is no going back.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had on Wednesday in a statement also accused the state government of insensitivity over the sack of about 22,000 teachers, 4, 000 local government employees, 3000 state workers and traditional rulers.
Kaduna Replies PDP:
However, Alhaji Saidu Adamu, the Counsellor on Information and Communication to the Kaduna State Governor dismissed the claim today in Kaduna, insisting the claims of the PDP was baseless as the state government has embarked on “massive employment ever seen in the history of the state since independence.’’
Adamu said: “Right from Nigeria’s independence, I want to believe that this is the first time Kaduna state government is making massive employment in our history.
“In one agency, KASTELA, the state government had employed over 2,600 personnel and we have already secured permission to employ additional 1,700 soon.”
“We are currently doing same is various agencies, including KADIPA and KADGIS among other agencies in the state.’’
On the 22,000 teachers sacked by the government, Adamu said the administration would replace them with 25, 000 qualified ones.
“The teachers sacked have no business in the classroom,’’ he stressed, adding that the government was focused on laying a solid foundation at the primary level for children of the poor to acquire sound education.
“By sanitizing our primary schools, children of the poor would acquire the right education that would add value to their lives and the society and become something worthwhile in the future.
“No any sensible government will allow the way things are going in the education sector to continue.
“A situation where a primary school teacher and graduate of geography can’t even spell geography correctly, and you expect the government to allow such person to continue teaching, is not possible.
“It is high time to change the situation and we have screened those who applied for teaching jobs to get suitable replacements.
“We are also going to conduct physical and oral tests to confirm that we have the right persons, we want to have functional and qualified teachers in our schools.
“I want to also assure that what Kaduna state governor is doing is the best that any right-thinking leader should do.
“We have been left behind and we contributed to what is happening to us right now because the previous administrations did not care about the future of poor people.“