Four Foreign Nationals Abducted In Kaduna State

Kaduna State Police Command confirmed that four foreigners have been abducted nationals on Kwoi-Jere road in Kagarko local government area of Kaduna State.

This was announced by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Mukhtar Aliyu confirmed to NAN that the foreign nationals included two Canadians and two Americans.

The Spokesperson said the nationals were said to be returning to Abuja from Kafanchan, Jema’a local government area of Kaduna state, adding, “the kidnappers laid ambush for them and engaged the escorts in gun duel which led to the death of two policemen while the four foreigners were whisked to unknown destination.”

He said the Command had since swung into action as it had deployed its anti-kidnap unit and assured that the abductors would be brought to book.

The officer urged Nigerians to be vigilant and report any suspected persons or group of persons to the appropriate authorities.

 

APC Youths Want Private Schools Banned

The National Youths Caucus of All Progressive Congress (APC), Northwest Zone, on Friday in Kaduna canvassed for total ban on the operations of private schools in the country.

The caucus which held a rally in support of ongoing reforms in the education sector in Kaduna State said the measure was necessary to save public schools from total collapse.

Malam Isiyaku Sarkin Pawa, Secretary of the caucus, said Nigeria must take steps to salvage the education sector from its present poor state in order to build a prosperous and stable nation.

“In the past, everyone attend public schools irrespective of their parents’ status in the society, but because of the establishment of private schools, all public schools have been neglected.’’

He added that public schools which used to be for all classes of people have now become only for the poor, thus encouraging segregation in access to educational opportunities between children of the rich and poor.

“Public schools performance is not too good, that is why we are supporting the governor’s reforms in the education sector,” the secretary added.

Jafaru Sani, the state Commissioner for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, who received the group on behalf of Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai, explained that the reform was not politically motivated but for the benefit of the future generation.

“The state government has done a lot towards improving the education sector, there is no going back on the disengagement of unqualified teachers, instead we will improve on the quality of teachers and education in general,” he said.

He assured that the government would continue to do the right thing in spite of the challenges being faced.

NAN

APC Mourns Ex-Kaduna Gov, Lawal Kaita

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed sadness over the death of respected elder statesman and former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawal Kaita.

According to the party’s publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party expresses condolence to the families of the deceased and the Kaduna state government.

His contributions at the 1994–1995 Constitutional Conference among others. The statement reads:

“Our great Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) mourns the death of elder statesman and former Governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawal Kaita who died at the age of 85.

“We express our deep condolences to his family, government, Katsina Emirate and people of his home state of Katsina and Kaduna state where he governed under the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

“The late Alhaji Lawal Kaita was a courageous and principled leader who stood firm and fearlessly canvassed causes he believed in.

“The Party fondly recalls his outstanding tenure and service as member of the 1994–1995 Constitutional Conference; leader of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) which largely metamorphosed to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when the fourth republic was birthed and one of the founding members of the Action Congress (AC) in 2006.

“Indeed, the country has lost one of its first-rate and influential politicians who made solid contributions to the politics, political party and democratic development of the country.

“We pray the Almighty Allah grant the late Alhaji Lawal Kaita eternal rest.” the statement concluded.

New Year Tragedy: Herdsmen Kill Traditional Ruler, And Pregnant

Suspected herdsmen have killed a traditional ruler, the Etum Numana and his pregnant wife at their home in Sanga local government area in Kaduna today January 1st.

The monarch was said to have just returned home from where he had gone to celebrate the beginning of the New Year when the gunmen stormed his home at about 12.05am and opened fire.

Confirming the incident, a resident of the Area , Bala Audu who is also the chairman of Sanga Development Association, said

“He was seated with his second wife who is pregnant. Suddenly the gunmen, who I was told covered their faces with masks, invaded the house and opened fire on them, alongside his son who is about 45 years. The chief and his wife died on the spot, the son did not die but he sustained serious injuries and was rushed to the hospital. The gun men set the house ablaze and burnt a vehicle which was recently given to the chief as a gift. They fled into the bush after they committed the dastardly act.”

 

Court Halts El-Rufai’s Plan To Sack 21,000 Teachers In Kaduna

The Kaduna branch of National Industrial Court of Nigeria has ordered Kaduna State Government to stop the planned sack of 21,000 primary school teachers who failed competency test.

Over 21,000 out of 30,000 teachers who sat for the competency test organised by the state government were alleged to have failed and government moved to sack them resulted into protest from Nigerian Union of Teachers.

The teachers had in October dragged the government before the industrial court, asking the court to stop state government from sacking any teacher on the basis of the test conducted in June 2017.

Samuel Atum, the lawyer who represented the teachers, 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 on Thursday at the hearing granted the application pending the determination of the substantive suit and adjourned the case to February 6th, 2018.

Speaking with newsmen after the court session, the plaintiff’s counsel lauded the court for granting their order against the plans of the state government.

“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.

“I have confidence that the government will comply or obey this order.” he said

Meanwhile, hundreds of Teachers present at the court were seen jubilating and congratulating themselves over the court injunction.

BREAKING: Kaduna Commissioner For Education, Andrew Nok Is Dead

The Kaduna State commissioner of education, Andrew Nok, is dead. He was 55.

Details of his death is still sketchy but a source at Kaduna government house said the commissioner’s death was sudden.

Mr. Nok, a professor of Biochemistry, has won many national and international awards.

In 2010, he won Nigeria’s highest academic honour, the Nigerian National Order of Merit, NNOM, in the science category.

His work on the discovery of the gene responsible for sleeping sickness won the NLNG Science Prize in 2009.

He was the 2013 winner of the Alexander von Humboldt prize for science.

The 1983 Biochemistry graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was born at Nok village in Jaba local government of Kaduna state on January 11, 1962.

He taught at his alma mater until his appointment as commissioner in July, 2015.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai and other senior members of the State Executive Council are at the deceased’s residence to commiserate with his family.

 

El-Rufai Vs NUT: The Battle For Educational Reforms

By Segun Ojo

From the beginning of civilisation until now education has been the major propellant behind man’s voyage in all spheres of life. We all can testify to the spectacular jump in human knowledge and its applications particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Though, our mediocre education has taken us this far, if we can call where we are far. But how much farther can it take us in an ever competitive world. It is sickening to see that we are bent on making education totally irrelevant to our quest to be counted among the biggest economies of the world.

Looking at the trending educational crisis in Kaduna state between Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, relating to the competency test organized by the state government for 33,000 primary school teachers out of which 21,780 teachers woefully failed the primary four pupils examination organized for them. One begin to wondering ,even asking a rhetorical question that who really is a teacher and who could a pupil be when teachers who were supposed to be a role model for the pupils in primary school, to give basic and qualitative education they deserve, could act so disrespectful to the profession that gave birth to them. …who really is a teacher?

The teacher stands at the most important point in the educational process and must be well versed in the act of teaching. This means that a person called teacher must have acquired the skills required to perform his/her role. A teacher should be someone who had undergone a long period of socialized training and is regarded as a moral instructor, moral educator and a moral model for his/her students. Teaching as a profession has to do with impacting skills, knowledge, information, and attitude among others to the learner. The quality of teachers found in our primary schools goes a long way in determining the quality of pupils from this level of education.

Therefore, teaching cannot be done by just anybody because it involves a body of knowledge being impacted to a less experienced or immature person through conscious and deliberate approach, that teaching as a process requires some knowledgeable personalities, who offer the necessary knowledge and skills to another person. No education can rise above the quality of its teachers.

Developing a functional pool of trained intelligence that will drive the building of a virile nation is a daunting and time consuming exercise which unfortunately never ends. And no country can depend on the human capital of other countries to provide solutions to its development challenges. The critical importance of a locally available highly trained workforce in nation building is undeniable.

And as being posited that a unionist is always believe to be someone who sees reasons to every situation and believes in truth and plight of members in a reasonable manner. Therefore, there is need for the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Kaduna state chapter to see reasons why the 21,780 teachers who failed the primary four pupils examination have not done well to motivate a true spirit of unionism to fight for them but to rather leave the system for the competent and fresh brain to come in, because the hands that build do not destroy and teachers are known as small god who preach knowledge in any society. A house built on faulty foundation cannot stand.

Many things may go wrong between the state government and the teachers but the fact  still remains that education reform is a necessity that all need to embrace, as government, teachers, unionists, stakeholders, parents and other members of the society, qualitative and basic education is as important as the daily meal to any human.

Disappointing, when the NUT Chairman, Kaduna state chapter, Audu Amba was claimed to have said those failed teachers are his members and they have duty to protect them, the question that may come to mind is that, is Kaduna NUT happy with how their members failed an exam that was meant for primary four pupils in the state, or do they enjoy the song of failure people are singing for their members?

NUT should look beyond protecting members’ course but rather think of the children whose lives will be affected in the system. Unionists and teachers are also parents to some children; they should imagine what their notion will be if their wards are being thought by some set of teachers who could not only speak good English but also failed a primary four pupil examination in a larger number. Lord Lugard said if a tree is cut in the forest imagine what your reaction will be if such an act is done to you. A blind does not lead a blind.

Every state of the nation need to go back to the drawing board of education reform because we cannot continue politicizing the process of educational sector and want a better result. Making a reference to some states of the nation who take the lead in the education reform particularly at primary school level, Osun is one of those states who is in forefront for education reform per excellence.

Considering the quality of primary school teachers in Osun state one will have to commend the efforts of the government and the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his kind hearted in making qualitative basic education a necessity for children in the state. Construction of ultra model schools with modern facilities for the pupil across the state in order to ensure a conducive learning environment.

What a comparison! There is a need for Kaduna NUT and umbrella body of workers – NLC to give a full support to Governor El-Rufai in his fresh campaign to revive the primary school education from unqualified teachers who could not pass the basic assessment of their pupil. If the teachers and the NUT failed to see any good in what the Governor is doing then they should realize that a blind does not lead a blind.

Nasir -Rufai And The Question Of Mediocrity, By Sonola Olumhense

I wholeheartedly applaud the decision of Kaduna State governor Nasir el-Rufai to fire nearly 22,000 of his teachers and replace them with tested ones.

The decision followed a process in which two of every three teachers could not pass a Primary Four competency test. On Twitter last Thursday, the governor published some of the atrocities produced by some of the teachers in the test.

Read some of those papers, Senator Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna Central Constituency), and you should be ashamed. The senator rushed to the press, describing the firing plan as the “height of lunacy,” and as “a plot to employ political loyalists of the governor.”

According to the Senator, “(Governor El-Rufai) promised the people of the state that he will enroll his children in public school when he becomes governor, he has not only failed to do that but he is destroying the educational future of those who chose to send their wards to public school. Incompetence is not a reason but an excuse to sack thousands of teachers owed salaries for months.”

I subscribe fully to holding political office holders to account, and the senator has questions he should be asking the governor. But blackmail is not a question, it is a crime. And it is a particularly bad strategy for eliciting transparency.

The truth is that what El-Rufai is combating is not simply bad or unqualified teachers. It is the scourge of mediocrity in Nigeria, beginning with the public services. The scandalous examples of those teachers published by the governor last week to illustrate his determination to fire them underscore the scale of the problem.

I have chosen the word, scandalous, carefully. It is scandalous that anyone would have hired such “teachers” in the first place. Queried the governor, “Would you allow someone like this teach your child?”

It did not seem to matter to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which authorised the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Kaduna to organise a protest rally.

It is not surprising that there are some people and institutions, exemplified by Senator Sani and the NLC, who seem to believe that a teacher is a teacher. The extension of that argument is that it does not matter what quality of education a child gets.

It is a stupid argument, but not one that is difficult to understand: we have become a nation of poor values. But you simply cannot suggest that a child is entitled to unqualified teachers and claim to have faith in the future at the same time.

Governor El-Rufai has explained that the debris in teaching in Kaduna State was emptied into the system because teacher-recruitment became a victim of politics, with politicians, bureaucrats and local government officials finding it to be a dumping ground for a variety of unqualified persons. It is a story that other state governors should learn from.

“Teachers were employed at the local government level without adherence to standards,” he said last week. “In many instances, no examinations or interviews were conducted to assess the quality of recruits. Political patronage, nepotism and corruption became the yardstick, thus giving unqualified persons a way in. Teaching jobs were given as patronage to those connected to politicians and bureaucrats.”

It is the truth. The same explanation applies in the civil service, but it is in teaching that the greatest danger exists because the damage is replicated and multiplied with each damaged child.

Which leaves Governor El-Rufai’s basic question: “Would you allow someone (who does not know how to teach or what to teach ruin) your child?”

Now, would you? In effect, anyone who says the fired teachers should be allowed to keep their jobs answers that question in the affirmative. We summon cheap arguments and blackmail to disguise the point that you need a leader to make the difficult decisions.

Anyone can make the politically-convenient ones, but if the future is to be any better than the present, the difficult decisions, including eliminating thugs and semi-illiterates masquerading as trained and competent teachers, must be made.

But the challenge is far bigger: the situation in Kaduna over unqualified teachers is really the question of standards in Nigeria, and the prevalence of mediocrity in public service.

When presidents and governors, rather than seek the most qualified and motivated, choose party hacks, relatives and mistresses for critical appointments, ministers and commissioners and permanent secretaries and managing directors—as well as those hacks and relatives—do the same.

In turn, when ministers and commissioners and permanent secretaries and managing directors choose party hacks, relatives and mistresses over the most qualified and motivated, they use the same template to poison their offices. The job is either an award or a reward, and competence and accountability are not suggested, let alone demanded.

Everyone knows that this: the practice and persistence of poor and wrong appointments, is largely why Nigerian public institutions fail. Only last week, for instance, following a newspaper story that 81 of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments are from three northern states, the presidency responded with a 159-person submission it described as a ‘full list’ of all his appointments.

“To claim, suggest or attempt to insinuate that the President’s appointments are tilted in favour of a section of the country is simply untrue and certainly uncharitable,” said spokesman Femi Adesina.

But the presidency was wrong, a close examination of the list showing it to be littered with sundry errors and misrepresentation.

Questioned, Mr. Adesina said his “full list” was not “completely exhaustive,” there being appointments he had not reflected. “It’s just to show that the paper that published 100 and said 81 was from the North is not right. It was a mischievous story.”

Perhaps. But that would make the 159-person claim of a “full list” a fabrication. Nothing prevented the presidency from telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in one intervention.

And official fabrications, including appointing unqualified teachers, have made Nigeria a joke for nearly 60 years and crumbled our institutions. Eighty-one or 200 persons of the most demonstrably qualified and committed, even if they are from the same local council area, will lead a nation to great heights.

In Nigeria, the international capital of hypocrisy, the job of such appointees is persistently to explain not how great things were accomplished, but why failure was the only option. For a living, they construct excuses rather than structures and institutions which elevate the people.

Think about it: preceding the presidency’s 159-person howler was its fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina reinstatement-with-promotion-and-four-year-back-pay scandal. That was preceded by the mess in the Ministry of Petroleum.

Think about it: only last week, the World Internal Security and Police Index, an initiative of the International Police Science Association and the Institute for Economics and Peace, announced its rankings of 127 of the world’s police forces. The Nigeria Police ranked the worst, at 127th.

Similarly, the World Health Organisation has ranked Nigerian roads among the world’s most dangerous for driving. And yes, unlike 2016 when we had only one airport listed among the world’s 10 worst, this year we have two!

A speech is not an achievement.

We Won’t Succumb To Your Blackmail, NLC Tells El-Rufai

The Kaduna state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has said that the union will not be intimidated by the cheap blackmail employed by the government over the group’s peaceful protest against Governor Nasiru el-Rufai’s anticipated sacking of the 21,000 teachers in the state.

In a statement signed by the Kaduna NLC Chairman, Comrade Adamu Ango affirmed that the union has resolved to stand against any act of suppression from the government to its members.

The statement read: “We, therefore, affirm that the Labour Movement will never be intimidated and it will indeed continue to play its historical role of the conscience of society and protector of workers’ rights using all means available to it within the confines of the law,”

“The allusion to violence on the part of our members is a deliberate attempt by the Kaduna State Government to deploy its usual tactics of blackmail which is now known to all and sundry.

“The outdated strategy of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it will not work in the circumstance, as the Labour Movement cannot be cowed and will indeed deploy all lawful and legitimate arsenals as its disposal to resist the unholy attempt to impose the will of an individual against the consensus of an overwhelming majority of Kaduna State citizens (members of the Labour Movement).

“The Kaduna state government as usual, instead of addressing the core issues relative to the impasse between it and the labour movement has resorted to crude propaganda and diversionary tactics by trying to depict a rally organized and attended by the leadership of the entire labour movement in Nigeria as an agitation by 21,000 unqualified teachers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the rally held in Kaduna on 8th November, 2017 was peaceful and same was held in exercise of our members constitutional rights as guaranteed under section 35(1) and 40 of the 1999 constitution which is the grundnorm and all other laws drives their potency there from. Fortunately, in Kaduna State, similar rights have been exercised in support of the state government’s decision to take external loan without let or hindrance.”

Ango reprimanded governor El-rufai for not heeding to NLC advice, saying, “recent events in the educational sector have vindicated the labour movement whose advice to government to utilize the over N10billion expended in the school feeding programme in the development of infrastructures and teachers education/retraining was ignored.”

“The events at the Kaduna state House of Assembly after the rally by the Labour Movement cannot be attributed to the NLC, and same is a replica of the sad events at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, secretariat, Kaduna where supporters of the state government openly attacked law abiding citizens who were there to address a press conference and unfortunately nobody has been prosecuted or is being prosecuted for their participation in the dastardly act,” he lamented.

Ango was emphatic of the fact that the demonstration staged on the streets of kaduna by pupils in public schools was not orchestrated by the Labour Movement.

El-Rufai Vs Kaduna Teachers: “Why Should Our Children Sacrifice For Teachers”?

By Joachim Macebong

Governor El Rufai is a controversial political figure by any standard. He caused a ruckus on Twitter during the Southern Kaduna crisis by arresting the driving force of the movement, Audu Maikori.

This time around, it’s Kaduna primary school teachers that El Rufai is up against. After most of them failed the competency test organised by the Governor, they took to the streets to protest their impending sack.

3 Takeaways…….

Show of shame

Back in August 2013, the nation watched a verification exercise in Edo state where a teacher was unable to read out her age declaration affidavit in front of then Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. Many people were already aware of the state of Nigeria’s education sector, but the fact that this exchange was captured on video made it all the more powerful, a moment engraved in history.

Unfortunately, that teacher is not the exception; she is the rule in Nigeria’s education sector. Conversations around the sector are dominated disproportionately by the ASUU strikes, but this is a mistake. The real damage to Nigeria’s future occurs at primary school level, where children are unable to get the basic literacy and numeracy skills on which all other educational attainment is built. The reason for that is obvious: poorly trained teachers.

At primary school level, the most important schooling factor is teacher quality. You can’t change the family background of a child, but you can make sure that if they get to school, they get the best teaching possible.

El Rufai’s courageous moves

Considering this, Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s recent moves to improve teacher quality in Kaduna should be met with approval. A Primary 4 equivalent competence exam was conducted for teachers in Kaduna state, and two-thirds failed to get up to the 75% required to pass. Indeed, if you don’t know up to 75% of what a teacher of Primary 4 pupils should know, why are you a primary school teacher?

Such scandalous figures are not unusual. In 2013, the Commissioner of Education for Kaduna State suggested that 1,300 of 1,599 teachers across the state scored below 25% in basic math and literacy, with only one – yes, one – scoring 75%. As this state of affairs is unlikely to have significantly changed in the following four years, it is safe to say that the present administration still battles with these failings.

Opinions on El-Rufai are sharply divided especially on social media, but even his harshest critics may find it hard to fault his education reforms. He is attempting a change that has frustrated other state governors in other states. Accepted wisdom suggests that Kayode Fayemi’s failed re-election bid could be traced to a clash over competency tests for teachers. The teachers felt the tests were the prelude to a mass sacking, and dug their heels in. As elections approached, Fayemi backed down; but it was too late by that time, and the teachers voted for Fayose instead.

In contrast, Adams Oshiomhole, previously mentioned, discovered a similar level of rot. Having initially sacked many teachers, he reinstated some of them as elections approached, ensuring a successful handover to his chosen successor.

Will history repeat itself?

Teacher unions are typically very powerful because they can organise against you at the polls. Unions, in general, protect their members, and the ones in Nigeria are no different, even if it means protecting the worst of the bunch. So El-Rufai’s move is particularly brave considering he is up for re-election in only 18 months.

Expectedly, the National Labour Congress Kaduna Chapter has come out against the move, calling the government’s side of the story ‘propaganda’, and suggesting that the teachers found wanting were trained by the government. In fact, protests have been staged across Kaduna.

But this claim does not hold up to scrutiny.

As mentioned above, in Ekiti, the teachers didn’t even take the competency test, to begin with, and turned on Kayode Fayemi as a result. Unions display resistance to any sort of change, and the result, in this case, is to hold millions of children back from their potential. They know that many within their ranks are not up to the necessary standard, but place those substandard teachers above the wider interests of society.

El-Rufai is the latest governor to come up against this tendency, and if he succeeds, his fellow governors may find the courage to do what is required. In spite of this, the NUT in Kaduna has promised a total strike if the teachers are sacked.

Speaking proudly, the NUT chairman in the state, Audu Amba, said, “They are our members and we have a duty to protect our own.” But why should our children foot the bill for their protection?

Source: StearsNG

El-Rufai Warns Shi’ites In Kaduna

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, said the government would not hesitate “to arrest and prosecute anyone that marches in the state in the name of the outlawed IMN.”

 

He warned the outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as Shi’ites, against any form of procession in the state. The governor said any procession by the group would amount to violating the law of the state because the IMN had since been outlawed in the state.

 

El-Rufai, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, said the state was concerned about the report of the violent clash between the Shi’ites members and  security agencies in neighbouring Kano State.

 

He, however, assured residents that the state had put security forces on red alert against any threat to peace in the state. Aruwan added, “The Kaduna State Government has warned members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria to steer clear of the borders of the state. Security agencies have been alerted to arrest and prosecute anyone found demonstrating or carrying out a procession within the state in the name of an outlawed group.

 

“The government will not shirk its duty to enforce the law and uphold order. Security agencies have been directed to mount surveillance in all parts of the state, especially in border communities. Procession from any state into Kaduna by members of an unlawful society is not allowed.

“Residents of the state are advised to alert security agencies to any procession by members of IMN in any part of the state, especially from Kaduna communities close to the borders of neighbouring states.”