The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has insisted on the termination of the appointment of 5,000 secondary school teachers who were yet to receive placement letter from the state government.
Mr. Emmanuel said the teachers’ recruitment, hurriedly done in the last days of the previous administration of Godswill Akpabio, was faulty.
“Even the bible says if the foundation is not right, what can the righteous man do?” a Government House press release quoted Governor Emmanuel as telling journalists on Wednesday, when he landed at the Akwa Ibom International Airport.
“We have tried to see how we could get something out of that recruitment process, but believe me, the foundation was very faulty.”
Mr. Emmanuel repeated what he had often said about the recruitment – that there was a syndicate which had given out fake appointment letters to thousands of unqualified applicants. He said that prompted the cancelation of the recruitment.
The release said Mr. Emmanuel warned that the administration wasn’t ready to bow to sentiments, and that he would ensure that the right decisions were made in the interest of the Akwa Ibom people.
“If we are putting people to teach our children, please let us leave sentiments apart and go for the right people,” the governor said. “We need to make sure they went through the right process and have the right qualifications.
“We are assuring the 5000 people that they need not worry, when we are calling for aptitude test, you need not re-apply, just walk into the venue of the exercise with that appointment letter and justify that you are qualified to teach our children.”
The cancellation was first announced few days ago by the Head of Civil Service in the state, Ekereobong Akpan, before the latest remark by the governor.
It is obviously an unexpected blow to the “unemployed” teachers who for about two years now have been putting pressure on the governmentto assign them to public secondary schools across the state.
Meanwhile, a lawyer and human rights activist from the state, Inibehe Effiong has criticized the action of the state government, describing it as illegal and insensitive.
“The current government should note that the moment the teachers accepted the offer(s) of employment, a contract of employment (with statutory flavour) was created with terms and conditions, including the manner of disengagement, clearly regulated by statute,” Mr. Effiong said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The law is firmly established that contracts of employment with statutory flavour cannot be terminated arbitrarily without strict compliance with the relevant statute, rules and regulations governing the contract.
“Supposing without conceding that the government has the right in law to terminate the contract because of alleged irregularities in the recruitment exercise, the manner in which it was done renders the purported cancellation unconstitutional owing to the failure of the government to accord the affected persons fair hearing as mandatorily required by Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”