By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Kaduna division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, on Thursday, restrained the planned sack of over 21,780 primary school teachers that failed a competency test organised by Governor el-Rufai-led government.
The lawyer representing the teachers, Samuel Atum, had on October 30 filed a motion of “interlocutory injunction” asking the court to restrain the government from dismissing or disengaging any teacher on the basis of the test conducted in June 2017.
Justice Lawal Mani, during the session on Thursday, granted the application, pending the determination of the substantive suit. The case was adjourned to February 6th, 2018. The hearing on Thursday was attended by hundreds of teachers and labour leaders.
The lawyer, Mr. Atum, praised the court for “graciously” giving the order. “This is democracy, and the premise of democracy is the rule of law; so, we expect nothing more than absolute submission by the state government to comply with the order of the court,” he told journalists. “I have confidence that the government will comply or obey this order,” he said.
Lawyers representing the State Attorney-General and the State Government, as well as Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, declined comments. Some teachers said the ruling was “encouraging.”
“It has given us hope. We hope, too, that the governor will obey the court order,” Zainab Sanusi, a teacher, said.
The planned mass sack of teachers sparked controversy after evidence truly showed that the teachers performed woefully in the competency test.
Some of the scripts released by the government showed that many of the teachers supplied ridiculous answers to basic questions, while about two-thirds of the teachers failed to score up to 75 per cent in the grading.
Kaduna government has since vowed to sack the affected workers, despite threats by the local chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, to embark on indefinite strike.
Government also said it would recruit 25,000 qualified teachers in their stead, seriously in progress towards next year.