Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna governor, says there is no amount of resistance that will make the state government rescind its decision to sack 21,780 teachers.
The government has received backlash from some Nigerians since its decision to fire the teachers said to have failed a competency test it organised.
On Thursday, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) protested the decision in the state, days after the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teacher (NUT) went on strike over the matter.
But speaking on a Channels TV programme on Thursday night, the governor said there is no going back on the sack. “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,” he said.
“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.”
He said: “This administration of the APC in Kaduna state has already spent N650m on in the last two-and-a-half years since we took office. We have trained teachers, we have brought funds from the global partnership for education to train teachers.
“But you cannot train an illiterate to be a teacher. The situation we have in which people cannot answer questions that primary four people can answer, it means that they are incapable of being trained.
“Those that are talking about training do not get it. These ones that are going (sacked) are untrainable. They can do something else with their lives, and we will do everything to give them the opportunity to do so but not teaching.”