Kaduna — The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday condemned the protest by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) against the planned sacking of teachers in the state.
The protest, which started at the state headquarters of the NLC in Kaduna, terminated at the state House of Assembly.El-Rufai alleged that the protesters destroyed vehicles and property belonging to the state government, including those of the state House of Assembly.
According to him, teachers who failed to score 75 per cent in a primary four-competency test by his government necessitated the action.The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Adamu Mansur, disclosed at a press conference that there was no going back on the plan.He warned that the state government would prosecute anyone found culpable in the acts of violence.
The statement reads: "The Kaduna State government has restated its resolve to upgrade the quality of education in the state. The government stands firmly by the long-term interests of the 2 million pupils in the public primary schools, and would not be derailed by the agitation by 21,000 unqualified teachers."
"Following reports of the serial criminal actions that had taken place in the last three days, government has forwarded the names of individuals putting the pupils at risk, disrupting schools and vandalising public property to the law enforcement agencies.
"Government would not allow anyone to get away with criminal activities under the cover of industrial relations. Nothing would deter the government from recruiting qualified teachers, and giving the disengaged ones the entitlements specified in their terms of service."
The statement added that the process of recruiting 25,000 new teachers was already in place.The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, had on Wednesday led workers to protest in Kaduna against the purported sacking of 21,780 teachers.
The National President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ibrahim Khaleel, warned that the unions would mobilise the entire Nigerian workers against the government, if the governor fails to rescind the decision.
He said: "The next time, the workers would shutdown the entire economy of the state, beginning with the closure of Kaduna airport, motor parks, offices and market places. Later, the workers would move to the Government House, whether El-rufai is ready to receive us or not."The Chairman of the Arewa Coordinating Committee of Teachers, Bulama Abisu, said in an interview at the Kaduna Teachers House that the plan was unacceptable.