Image: The Guardian Nigeria

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has condemned the organisation of the competency test conducted for teachers in Kaduna State, describing it as a sham, fraud and a pre-meditated action to reduce the workforce.

The NLC alleged that the competency test was a ploy by the state government to engage in mass sack of workers from all sectors of the economy, and not limited to teachers alone.

“The teachers’ case is a disguise that must not be treated separately as the ultimate plan is to execute a wholesome mass sack,” the NLC President, Comrade Wabba said.

He said the competency test was shrouded in secrecy, alleging that from the congress’ independent investigation, dead teachers and school guards, were among those who wrote the test and not only the teaching staff.

Wabba said: “For instance, his government’s claim that the competency test conducted on teachers in the state was transparent is not only false but shrouded in arrant fraud as we have found out that some of those claimed to have passed the test were dead teachers as well as retired teachers who left service two years ago. Also included were school guards who were never engaged in teaching service.”

Specifically, the congress revealed that the Kaduna State Government has earmarked about 30, 000 workers to be laid off, “consisting of twenty one thousand, seven hundred and eighty (21, 780) teachers already penned down to be sacked under the pretext that they failed a competency test while five thousand (5, 000) local government workers are to be sacked under the Local Government Councils Restructuring Order 2017 and eight thousand (8, 000) more workers in ministries, departments and agencies are to be sacked for sundry but unjustifiable reasons.”

The NLC and its affiliate unions had led a protest against what it called the obnoxious plan of the Kaduna State Government to sack workers en masse, on Wednesday, last week.

Wabba said: “Wednesday’s protest was to express our collective opposition to the anti-workers policies of Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Government in Kaduna State that are obviously directed at not just sacking workers en masse but deepening poverty and deprivations, as well as circumscribing the fundamental rights of the people, particularly workers in the state.”

He added: “What surprises us is his penchant for falsehood and fraudulent claims in his quest to impose hardships on the people, especially workers.

‘‘We must make it clear to the public that the ultimate intention of the Kaduna State government is the massive reduction of the state’s workforce.. The target is the entire civil service, local government, ministries, departments and agencies.

“The so called competency test was conducted without the relevant professional bodies regulating the teaching profession. But more especially, it was done by a government with a prejudicial mind and intent.”

According to Wabba, “The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria and the National Teachers Institute were not involved in the process. The unions, particularly the Nigeria Union of Teachers and the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees were left out because the motives were clearly not about testing for quality but a disguise to throw people out of employment.”

Author: Yemi Olarinre