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Book Review: Testimony to Courage

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Testimony to Courage
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Title: Testimony to Courage

Author: edited by Chido Onumah and Frederick Adetiba

Publisher: Cappa & Omega Co.Reviewer: Chidi Odinkalu

Introducing A People Defined by Hierarchies

Nigeria is a country defined by hierarchies in which everyone is expected to fit neatly into a box.

These hierarchies are many and multi-dimensional. They vary in both shape and size and we have signature tunes for sign-posting them. You know a generational put-down when it’s uttered. When you hear, “Am I your mate?” or “your time will come”, it doesn’t matter if you are already sixty-something year-old grand-parent. “Where are you from?”, is a marker for geographical hierarchy that easily also conflates multiple sign-posts of ethnicity, religion, race and even presumed political persuasion.
“You no know say you be woman?!” assumes lessons in propriety are exclusive to one gender. It is Nigerian to accept these hierarchies and their implications without question. To not subscribe to this is to subvert something widely considered essential to the Nigerian identity. It’s an invitation to trouble.

Our Nigerian hierarchies and accompanying boxes of identity even find expression in our sartorial preferences. They’re also canaries for prejudice and for competing claims of exception. Those who don’t fit into these boxes are worse than mere outliers. They could also end up as outcasts. Civic ecumenism in Nigeria is thus at once endangered but fascinating. It’s both vice and virtue. In this, art imitates form. A Nigerian who appears to embody these virtues could end up being both endangered and, simultaneously, a subject of considerable fascination. Notoriety is their reward. The best-known exemplar of this is Fela— he was so notorious, he did not need the luxury of a surname; so admired, everyone believed they knew him on intimate, first name terms.

Neither Faint of Heart nor “Agbero” Bourgeoisie

This is not a fate for the faint of heart. After all, we are Nigerians, the largest community in Africa. Just about any fraction of us against one person would be an army. Even in a world now dominated by fatuous obsession with seconds of infamy, no one dares to embrace an army’s worth of ire just for the sake of cheap popularity or fame. It takes conviction and courage to go against Nigerian hierarchies and all that they entail.

This is the point of Testimony to Courage. It is a collection of “Essays in Honour of Dapo Olorunyomi”, another Nigerian who, like Fela, is descended from a lineage of Christian missionaries and, also like Fela, is now best known by an edited form of his first name as “Dapsy”. Those of us too animated by Nigerian hierarchies to feel so intimate with our Egbon would take liberty to preface “Dapsy” with “Oga”. You know this cognomen has passed the test of acceptance when it receives the reluctant approval of the ideologically fastidious Biodun Jeyifo, Emeritus Professor and Dapsy’s teacher, who would have voted it down because “it sounds like and rhymes with ‘Popsy’ and ‘Momsy’, two of the most overused terms of the special argot or vocab of the over-pampered offspring of our national bourgeoisie.” But he is prepared to grant an exception to its use for one of his favourite students because “there is nothing in (Dapsy’s) character and his sensibility that smacks of the moral and social universe of our agbero bourgeoisie.”

A Conclave of Witnesses to Civic Ecumenism

The book is at once about a man, his life’s passions, and about courage as a civic virtue. Courage, on its own could be both virtue and vice. As an end in itself, it is meaningless. It only makes sense as a means and its elevation to virtue assumes the existence of a larger goal into whose service it is pressed with consistency. Three of Dapsy’s abiding passions—Nigeria, other people and truth – receive substantial attention in the book. It’s easy to stray into one, some or all of these and forget about the book. Yet, a review of the book would be bereft without these.

Testimony to Courage hews close to the man in its ecumenism and disregard of Nigerian hierarchies. It contains 91 essays, 90 of which are relatively short. The exception, predictably by essayist, Odia Ofeimun, occupies all of 34 pages. These are clustered into three different parts that supposedly capture the essence of Dapsy’s life, work and values. Part 1, containing 33 essays, is devoted to his “Journalistic Exploits”. Part two contains 26 essays and deals with his “Activism and Democratic Struggle”. The 32 essays in part three are devoted to his “Legacy” of “Investing in the Future”. The categories are far from neat. Three additional essays are published as prologue, preface and introduction. They are all worth reading and highly readable. 
The contributors include senior citizens above 80 and young people in their 20s; senior politicians on the one hand and citizens, some of whom hold them in barely concealed contempt, on the other; pastors and atheists; Christians, Muslims and traditional worshippers; men, women and every gender in between. At one end of the generational spectrum of authors are people like Akin Olorunyomi, Dapsy’s elder brother who was there when he was born and named in 1957, Wole Soyinka, after whom Dapsy has built one of the institutions that has become his hallmark, and Ropo Sekoni, an Emeritus Professor, who was Dapsy’s lecturer in the university over 40 years ago. At another end you have contributors like Omotola Aderinsola, who confesses to having known Dapsy for “less than a year”, and Farooq Kperogi, who has never met Dapsy in person. With a few exceptions, the editors manage to distil from this conclave of witnesses a rich and highly readable variety of insights about man, virtue and country. The rulers of Nigeria have quite a lot to learn from the civic ecumenism of the book and of its subject for, true to Dapsy’s inclinations, it cannot be said of this book that any part of Nigeria is marginalized in it!

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Constancy and Coincidence; Dissonance and Diversity

This rich variety makes it somewhat difficult to be too categorical about the book. Testimony to Courage is broadly characterized by transcendental themes, some in dialogue with others. These are themes of constancy and coincidence; dissonance, diversity, and even the divine. It also offers a deep trove of information on Dapsy from the biographical to the aesthetic, which provide both context and interpretation for the deep strain of conviction and courage that he is known for.

Let’s begin with the biographical. We learn from the book that Dapsy was born in Kano to parents who lived in Keffi, but whose origins were in Okun-land. His grandfather was an ordained Baptist Minister and his parents were of the missionary persuasion. There is evidence of a deep pedigree that is emblematized in his birth names: Oyedapo (royalty has merged); Oyekunle (home filled with royalty); Adeniran (crown belongs to family). For a man who belongs to that rare species born adult, the irony is telling that this book formally gets launched on 27 May, usually marked in Nigeria as “Children’s Day”. His brother, Sola Olorunyomi, narrates, for instance, that Dapsy was wont to defy wearing a bib around the dining table at home with the refrain “do I look like a kid!?” For his sins, his younger sister, Adenike Odebiri narrates, his mother shipped him off to boarding school at four so as to “give her peace in the house.” He ended up going to a Koranic school in what is today Zamfara State and attending six different primary schools in six years. By the time he was finished with secondary school, Dapsy had lived in Bauchi, Gusau, Ilorin, Keffi, Makurdi, Mubi, Zaria, becoming proficient along the way in English, Fulfulde, Hausa, Yoruba as well as in the Bible and the Qur’an. He would later go to Ife for his undergraduate studies and then Yola for his compulsory national service. It’s no coincidence that his other endearments are “Mallam” or “Almajiri”.

The theme of coincidence and trouble is constant in Testimony to Courage. Dapsy’s mother did not have a monopoly of inventive ways to manage his penchant for trouble. Senior Advocate of Nigerian (SAN), Femi Falana, narrates that at the University of Ife, where they were editorial collaborators in a campus magazine, The Voice, the authorities banned the journal. In Dapsy’s professional biography, the rendezvous with reportorial immolation appears with unceasing regularity. As editor of another campus newspaper, The Rapport, he reportedly published a factually accurate story of how “a senior lecturer marched a female student into the hall to conduct a special examination for her”, outside the examination schedule. Unable to fault the story nor contain the furore caused by it, the university authorities had the magazine banned. As a reporter with African Concord, he wrote a story about the cynical sclerosis of the Ibrahim Babangida regime in April 1992 that got the regime angry. When they could not get the magazine to withdraw the story, the regime had the Concord group shuttered. That led to the founding of The News and Tempo stable under Gen. Sani Abacha but, “before long, both magazines were proscribed by the discredited dictator.” They set about looking for him and when they could not find him, they even closed down his family life by arresting his wife, Ladi, and child! 
Dapsy would later join forces with Dele Olojede at Next, which became so successful in investigative and enterprise journalism it had to be “rested”. Vanguard Editor, Eze Anaba, mourns Next as “a brilliant initiative that came too early.” His latest enterprise, Premium Times, has not been without its own share of troubles but the digital revolution now provides some inoculation against similar pretensions to martial decapitation of journalistic irritation. The point of Testimony to Courage, however, is the constancy of Dapsy’s commitment to truth even in the face of a rampant cemetery of publishing titles that testifies to the official conspiracy against it.

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There is an easy point of consensus in Testimony to Courage. As co-editors, Chido Onumah and Frederick Adetiba sum up in the introduction, “one thread run across everyone’s experience of Dapo Olorunyomi—his extraordinary humanity.” This “extraordinary humanity” often expresses itself in unusual generosity that “shows total disregard for personal comfort, privilege or position”. The word “bohemian” appears in more than a few places in the book, evidence of an attribute about which, Idowu Obasa complains, “makes people who are modestly conscious of these things appear very vain and self-centered.”

Far from a bookend, this kind of dispute over the nature and limits of virtue is a major theme of the dissonance that is evident in Testimony to Courage. There is an illuminating dialogue in the book between medium, message, values and means. The various authors, for instance, can’t seem to agree even on what Dapsy does and where he has made his mark. Odia Ofeimun believes that the book is by “media activists” about a man who has been at the cutting edge of “investigative journalism”. Yet most of the articles arguably centre not on his journalism but on his activism, humanism and institution building. Later in the book, Ofeimun would admit to many more dimensions to Dapsy’s narrative, acknowledging him also as a leading student activist and a “civil society stalwart.” In his own words, Dapsy is quoted as describing himself as being engaged in “content production enterprise”, from which vintage he sees publication merely “as a platform.” All this is not unconnected, of course, with the disruptive impact of the digital revolution on journalism, free expression and activism producing much more information without necessarily improving enlightenment. The resulting “assembly line” journalistic value-chain makes it impossible to shut down publishing today as the military did before.

With so much dissonance on such fundamentals, Testimony to Courage is naturally in diversity of viewpoints and insights on matters big and small. For instance, two contributors to the book include recent Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose self-image is as agents of good. Yet two of the contributions describes their class as part of “the rampant power they had criticized in the past” and as now representing the “compromised bowels of the decadent institutional structures that were the object of the strictures” of Dapsy’s work.

This diversity is replicated on even minutiae. Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka (Kongi), describes Dapsy as “mild-looking”. For those inclined to think of the subject on this account as mild and retreating, Elor Nkereuwen counters that she found him “loud and boisterous”, an attribute, she makes clear, she doesn’t like. Omotola Aderinsola even found him “slightly pot-bellied”. From their keypads, however, what would otherwise appear negative manage to come out almost as endearments. Confirming this, they both confess to how they are separately drawn to him as a peerless mentor. The dialogue between Kongi, Omotola Aderinsola and Elor Nkereuwen is also a record of an inter-generational conversation mediated by Nigeria’s hierarchies. Is it possible that the man who is required to be mild-mannered before his elders can also be boisterous before his Aburos? What this says about what matters to the different generations is one of the subliminal under-currents of Testimony to Courage. It falls to Waziri Adio, caught as he is between the generational hierarchies, to reconcile the appearances of contradiction in a man who is “at once understated and forceful, playful and serious, unassuming and cerebral, carefree and caring; approachable and cerebrally intimidating.” 
Testimony to Courage is more than just a collection of feel-good testimonials. It is a very serious and multi-disciplinary contribution to contemporary political economy, history, civic activism, security and media studies, with some spell-binding vignettes. Dare Babarinsa tells of the arrogant perfunctoriness with which Ibrahim Babangida made himself “President” instead of military “Head of State”, as his predecessors were known. 

In another section, we learn that pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, whom Dapsy would serve as Chief of Staff, was, in an earlier life during the reign of General Abacha, his tormentor, as a minion of Zakari Biu, the powerful ex-Police Commissioner who was one of Abacha’s security Commissars. In that capacity, Ribadu was one of the security men who kept tabs on Dapsy. He confesses that to this day, he still has “Dapo’s passport recovered from those days.” It must now be a collector’s item.

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In one of fate’s bitchier twists, Ribadu himself, from Adamawa, in north-east Nigeria, was forced into exile after his EFCC tenure, on which journey Dapsy became his Ebenezer. To smuggle him across Nigeria’s land borders for that escape, he had to be dressed up in “a fitting Yoruba dress… with a matching Buba.” It remained for him to find an equally fitting Yoruba name. So, they gave him the name “Bayo”. His otherwise uneventful march into exile was punctuated at the border with Benin Republic where the Gendarmes thundered: “Arretez! Ou allez vous?” To which his minder, no doubt prompted by the spirit (to use a Nigerianism), responded without missing a beat: “Porto-Novo. Mon ami va rencontrer sa fiancée! stern questions from armed Gendarmes, who knew the height men could go to have a rendezvous with a lover across the border.”


That lover, of course, is freedom, a lover the contours of whose intimacies and assignations with Dapsy are chronicled in every page of Testimony to Courage. The pieces are crafted with wit, humour, profound depth of recall, clarity mostly and, surely for a Nigerian book, occasional bombast. For example, Omoniyi Ibietan indulges in a spot of “totalizing the phenomenology of my encounter with Dapsy, his intentionality…”, a line that would feel entirely natural in Ene Henshaw’s This is Our Chance or, indeed, in Uanhenga Xitu’s, The World of Mestre Tamoda. A relatively brief index should ordinarily help readers navigate the book although it could easily have been more helpful if it had been more extensive. Navigation would have been helped, also, by indicating the names of contributors against their entries in the table of contents. Without that, locating particular authors or sections in the book can be cumbersome. If only to correct this, among other goals, this book deserves a second edition. When it happens, that edition could also offer an opportunity to such important and close collaborators of Dapsy’s as Bayo Onanuga, Babafemi Ojudu, Seye Kehinde and even Ifeanyi Uddin, to meet editorial and production deadlines. 
The Courage to Re-Make Our World
Unsurprisingly for a book whose principal protagonist is a descendant of Christian missionaries who has survived arrest, detention, torture, exile, and critical illness, to inch beyond the earthly landmark of three scores, Testimony to Courage genuflects before the divine with elements of a thanksgiving. One contributor who confesses to not knowing whether Dapsy is “a Christian or a Muslim or both” nevertheless pronounces him “an embodiment of God Almighty.”

In a country where “those who are least deserving get the loudest accolades” while “some who are deserving get their recognition after their death”, Testimony to Courage is evidence that the supplication for civic canonization does not always have to await earthly mortality. Sometimes, a generation must acknowledge its best in order to encourage many more not to give up on virtue. At the personal level, I suspect it may offend against Dapsy’s natural modesty to be held up to such high admiration or become the object of such elevated fascination. He may yet be persuaded to accept with some reluctance, however, that it’s a price worth paying for the cause of recruiting more people to his inestimable passion for humanity and for a country that works for all who care to call it their own.

Reflecting Dapsy’s inclination to take the long view, it falls to Idowu Obasa to put the remarkable narrative encapsulated in between the covers of the book into perspective. Obasa recalls that Dapsy’s many run-ins with power “led to what appeared to be permanent exile in the USA” but admits that he “cannot fail to thank God for the fact that if he had not run away to the USA those many years ago, we may have lost him two years ago.”

Herein lies the strongest message of the book—the man of courage who lives to tell the tale is usually the one who takes a long view. The courage to which this book testifies is of a more fundamental variety than that of a media practitioner or of an investigative journalist. It is about the courage to seek to re-make society away from the hierarchies that make demi-gods of a few, tarnish the other with toxic prejudice and diminish opportunities for everyone. It is a courage born of educated curiosity and underpinned by the inexactness of an experimentalist. It is courage of the wayfarer’s variety defined by a journey on which the destination may be known but the route unclear. It is this uncommon courage that Dapsy continues in different forms to embody.

Education

 UNICEF Reveals 226,000 Grave Violations Against Children

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
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By Evelyn Terseer, Abuja. 

Between 2005 and 2020, the United Nations verified over 266,000 grave violations against children committed by parties to conflict in more than 30 conflict situations across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America,

 According to UNICEF, this figure is a fraction of the violations believed to have occurred, as access and security constraints, among others, and the shame, pain, and fear that child and family survivors suffer often hamper the reporting, documentation and verification of grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict.

West and Central Africa is the region with the second highest number of verified violations since 2005 with more than 67,000 verified grave violations, accounting for a quarter of all violations globally. In the Central Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), conflict and insecurity have been major drivers of population displacement, which has put children further at risk of grave violations.

In these three countries, the number of verified grave violations increased by 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the last quarter of 2021. Hundreds of civilians, including children, have been killed in recent attacks in Burkina Faso and Mali. 

UNICEF emphasized that 25 years of children and armed conflict:Taking action to protect children in war – found that between 2005 and 2020 in West and Central Africa more than 7,600 children have been verified as killed or maimed in situations of armed conflict; over 42,000 children have been verified as recruited and used by parties to conflict; at least 4,800 children have been verified as abducted by parties to conflict; parties to conflict have raped, forcibly married, sexually exploited, and committed other grave forms of sexual violence against at least 8,000 children.

 The United Nations verified more than 2,500 incidents of attacks against schools and hospitals and verified no fewer than 1,900 incidents of denial of humanitarian access for children since 2005 in West and Central Africa.

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In Nigeria there were 391 verified cases of grave violations against 306 children. These violations mainly occurred in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States and were attributed to ISWAP and other armed groups. This is a 56 per cent increase in the number of grave violations against children (208) verified in 2020.

In most conflict areas in the West and Central Africa region, civilians continue to be targeted. This includes the deliberate targeting of frontline humanitarian workers who are finding it more difficult to deliver life-saving services and supplies to children in large parts of the Central Sahel and other conflict-affected areas of the region.

“Behind each of the violations detailed in the report is a child, his or her family and members of a community whose lives are torn apart, sometimes forever. We cannot remain indifferent and silent. The killing, abduction, and rape of girls and boys are horrific crimes. The increase in verified grave violations in the Central Sahel over the last quarter and their devastating impact on the wellbeing of children shows the need and importance of continuing our efforts to provide care to the victims and advocate for their immediate end. Attacks on civilians including children must be stopped and all measures for their protection, including during military operations, must be taken,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

Based on sixteen years of data from the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, the report illustrates the impact that armed conflicts have had on children, by presenting trends of grave violations across the world and over time. The report examines how information on the documented patterns of grave violations is being used to respond to children’s needs and how engagement with parties to conflict – State and non-State actors alike enables ending and preventing grave violations.

The annual number of verified violations in the world has gradually increased since 2005, surpassing 20,000 in a year for the first time in 2014 and reaching 26,425 in 2020. Between 2016 and 2020, the daily global average of verified grave violations stood at an alarming 71 violations. The elevated number of violations observed in recent years demonstrates the dramatic impact that armed conflict and increasingly complex and protracted protection crises have on children.

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The report notes that many children suffer from more than one violation, increasing their vulnerability. For example, abduction is often combined with or leads to other violations, particularly recruitment and use and sexual violence. Children especially girls who have been abducted and/or associated with parties to conflict are exposed to elevated risks of sexual violence, including rape, sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

The report found that grave violations against children were committed by States and non-State actors alike underscoring the importance of engagement with all parties to conflict, to meaningfully end and prevent violations against children.

In order to bolster accountability, parties to conflict listed in the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict develop and implement Action Plans with specific, concrete, and time-bound actions to establish sustainable measures to protect children from the impact of conflict. Between 2005 and 2021, a total of 16 Action Plans have been signed by parties to conflict in 6 conflict situations. 

14 Action Plans were signed with non-State actors, with the remaining 2 were signed with State actors. The report lays out several examples highlighting the critical value and impact of Action Plans in bringing about positive change for children, both in the immediate and long terms, as well as outlining challenges and obstacles.

The ever-growing number of armed non-State actors, the development and employment of new means and methods of warfare, the use of improvised explosive devices and other explosive weapons, particularly in populated areas, are just some of the many factors contributing to the creation of unprecedented challenges for the protection of children in situations of armed conflict.

It is important to note that the increase in verified violations over time also underscores the increasing strength of the monitoring and reporting mechanism over the years. The development of guidance on monitoring and reporting, the training and capacity building of UN and its partners’ staff on documenting grave violations, and the awareness raising of families and communities on the protection risks for children, have all contributed to strengthen the mechanism and enabled it to collect increased information on grave violations against children.

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Whilst the overall ability of the United Nations to document and verify incidents of grave violations has increased over time, it has fluctuated from one year to another, from one situation to another, and from one violation to another. In this regard, and based on all of the above, direct comparisons between situations, years, or violations should be undertaken with caution.

“Major humanitarian crises continue to unfold across West and Central Africa. The situation in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and multi-country emergencies, including crises in the Central Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin region, are having devastating consequences on children and communities. Beyond the consequences for the victims, grave violations of children’s rights are often accompanied by massive population displacements that increase the vulnerability of thousands of people and expose more children to other risks of violence,” said Ms. Poirier.

The report recommendations, based on the evidence and analysis presented, aim to mobilize all concerned stakeholders, including parties to conflict, States, and the UN Security Council, to effectively and sustainably protect children and to accelerate action at local, national, regional, and global levels.

In addition to calling on parties to conflict, and states, to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, the report includes recommendations on how to better provide adequate care and response services to children affected by conflict,ways to improve data disaggregation and analysis for better response and prevention,how to support Country Task Forces on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMRs) to accelerate action, and improve CTFMR engagement with governments and ways to better engage with parties to conflict to develop Action Plans and sustainably protect children.

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‘Removing History from School Curriculum was one of OBJ’s biggest Errors’ – Prof Ukase

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From Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad & Idris Umar

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was misled to cancel the study of History and International Studies from school curriculum in Nigeria during his administration as Executive president.

A Professor of History and International Studies with Kogi State University, Anyingba, Professor Patrick Ukase said at the 5th anniversary roundtable of Daily Asset Newspaper in Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja with the theme: The Media, National Economy, Politics and 2023 Elections, that the presidential order at that time was ill conceived and ill motivated to a developing country with rich and diverse History.

According to him, ” Historians, academics and concerned Nigerians were really disburbed when the presidential order was announced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that History was cancelled from the curriculum of Nigerian schools.

” Historical Society of Nigerian and many stakeholders fought the unfortunate presidential order by stating that if the younger generation didn’t know the History of the pre and post independence struggle, they wouldn’t learn, cherish, tolerate and strive towards moving the country forward.

” I once told an Engineer that History is just like the rearview mirror that guides motorists to drive safely and without it, driving would be fatal” He said.

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Professor Patrick Ukase enjoins policy makers to always consider and adopt issues to do with national interest without prejudice to avoid the embarrassment that followed the cancellation and later reintroduction of History into Nigeria’s school curriculum.

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NUT Threatens Strike Over Sack of 2,357 Kaduna Teachers

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The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has rejected the recent sack of 2,357 of its members in Kaduna State.

The Union has therefore said it will embark on a nationwide strike should the Kaduna State government refuse to reverse the decision.

It would be recalled that the teachers in Kaduna state, including its National President, Comrade Audu Titus Amba were sacked by the Kaduna State government for failing a purported competency test.

But addressing neewsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, the Deputy President of NUT, Dr Kelvin Nwankwo said its President, Amba did not fail test as announced by the state government and therefore remains its national president.

The Union also said the action of Governor Nasiru El-Rufai is clearly to intimidate the NUT President and embarrass the Teachers in Nigeria, and accused the governor of using the tactics not to pay owed salaries.

The NUT NEC urged Kaduna State government to rather embark on continuous Teacher Training Programme, which would at the end of the day improve knowledge and service delivery by Teachers in the Public Schools of Kaduna State as obtains in other professions such as Nursing, Medicine and Law. 

“The very concept of competency test is an aberration and absurd having regards to the fact that the teachers in Kaduna State have prior to their recruitment in the State Public Service attended schools and institutions statutorily saddled with the responsibility of Teacher education and these institutions have certified them to be competent, fit and proper to be Teachers. 

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“In addition, the selfsame Kaduna State Government had subjected the teachers to scrutiny and test to ensure their suitability or otherwise for employment as Teachers before they were recruited by it.

“It is in the context of the above that the whole concept of a competency test which is only peculiar to Kaduna State is akin to a cocktail of absurdities and leaves a sour taste in the mouth, thereby validating the position of NUT that the intentions of the Kaduna State Government on this issue is everything but altruistic.”

Nwankwo further said Kaduna State is the second most indebted State in Nigeria and the State Government is on a free roller coaster move to satisfy the conditionalities handed down to it by its creditors, which normally includes downsizing of the public service without even the remotest regards to our peculiar circumstances. 

“The whole concept of competency test was designed by the Kaduna State Government to achieve its inglorious aim of casualization of the teaching profession in Kaduna State.

“Otherwise, how else can one attempt a rationalization of the fact that the selfsame Kaduna State Government in the year 2018 dismissed/retired in one swoop 21,780 teachers purportedly for not passing its unilaterally and arbitrarily administered competency test and purportedly in replacement thereof recruited about 20,000 new teachers, who according to it were subjected to vigorous test and confirmed to be competent before they were recruited into the Kaduna State Public Service.

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“In accordance with the Kaduna State Public/Civil Service Rules, these purported 20,000 Teachers were employed on a temporary basis and placed on a ONE YEAR probationary period.

“Their appointments were to be made permanent and pensionable after the one year probationary period.  However, rather regrettably five years down the line, these teachers are still under temporary appointment with the result that the Kaduna State Government can whimsically and shamelessly ask them to leave the public service without any terminal related benefits. 

These selfsame 20,000 constitute the bulk of the 2,357 teachers, who are said not to have passed the latest in the series of competency test in Kaduna State,” he said.

The NUT scribe added that the manifest intention of the Kaduna State Government is to prey on the rather unfortunate existing non employment status of our teeming school leavers by recruiting them as teachers only to subsequently subject them to the raw deal it subjected the purported 20,000 teachers, thereby achieving its aim of casualization of the teaching profession in Kaduna State. 

The Union also said the case of its dear President, Amba clearly establishes the fact that the whole concept of competency test in Kaduna State is arbitrary and lacking in certainty.

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“He was not dismissed then for failure to write the competency test.  The question that readily agitates the mind in the circumstance is, what has changed in 2021/2022?

“It is also rather very sad and curious that the dismissal letter relative to the NUT President was in the Public domain via the social media even when it has not been served on him. 

“The intention clearly is to intimidate the NUT President and embarrass the Teachers in Nigeria.  This like other anti labour and people policies of the Kaduna State Government has failed on arrival. We got news for His Excellency Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai and his co-travelers to wit:- power is transient,” the union stated.

NUT therefore,  reaffirmed its commitment to stand with its revered President Comrade Audu Titus Amba and all the teachers in Kaduna State, who have fallen victim of the anti labour policies in Kaduna State and which policies have defied all logic and lacking in milk of human kindness.

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Senate Wades into Ewkeremadu Saga, Sends Delegation to London

Share Post Views: 48 President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has disclosed that a delegation from its Committee on Foreign...

POLITICS16 hours ago

Tinubu Doesn’t Need to Resubmit Certificates – Uzodinma

Share Post Views: 49 Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state has taken a swipe at Nigerians for raising what he...

International Federation of Association Football (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) International Federation of Association Football (Fédération Internationale de Football Association)
SPORTS16 hours ago

FIFA Emerges Best Global Sports Federation on Governance Standards

Share Post Views: 40 By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja FIFA has been rated among the international sporting federations with the best...

Oil & Gas16 hours ago

Wabote Tasks Security Agencies on Enforcement of Nigerian Content in Oil and Gas Sector

Share Post Views: 35 From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has tasked security agencies...

Metro16 hours ago

Tricycle Riders Grounds Commercial Activities in Yola

Share Post Views: 34 From Yagana Muhammad, Yola Commercial activities were Tuesday morning grounded in Jimeta, the commercial Headquarters of...

Foreign News16 hours ago

Reps Urge Foreign Affairs Ministry to Provide Ekweremdu with Consular Support

Share Post Views: 35 The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigeria’s High Commission...

INEC makes U-turn, admits ownership of server INEC makes U-turn, admits ownership of server
NEWS17 hours ago

Over 1milliom Old PVCs, 28,000 New Ones Uncollected in Lagos — INEC

Share Post Views: 40 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State, has revealed that a total of 1,091,157...

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