Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUJ) in Kaduna State on Monday commenced an indefinite strike to protest against the sacking of over 21,000 teachers by the state government.
The union directed all teachers in the state to remain at home until the state government reverses its decision after the sacked primary school teachers scored below 75 per cent in a competency test conducted for them in June 2017.
The directive was contained in a notice served to NUT members across the state and signed by the union Chairman and Assistant Secretary-General, Audu Amba and Adamu Ango respectively.
The NUT explained that the decision to commence the industrial action followed the expiration of the two weeks’ notice it gave to the state government to rescind the decision.
They also criticised the government’s decision to proceed with the sack despite a suit at the National Industrial Court on the matter.
However, the state government is not taking the matter with kid gloves as it warned public school teachers not to obey the directive by the union.
In a statement signed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Mr Samuel Aruwan, the government warned that any teacher who is absent from work would be treated with the consequences that pertain to absconding from duty under the Public Service Rules.
The statement read: “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.
“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 wishes to inform the public that it has instructed its education administrators to open registers in all its schools, starting from Monday, January 8, 2018.”
The government insisted that there is no going back in its decision, stressing that there is no amount of blackmail that will make it retain unqualified teachers in service.
They added that they won’t mortgage the future of two million primary school pupils because failed teachers “are shamelessly mobilising sentiment”.