The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has condemned Edo State Government for going ahead with the competency test for primary and secondary school teachers in the state on March 22, 2014, despite the service on them of an injunction of the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja, restraining the government from conducting the said test, pending the determination of the teachers suit before the court.
In a statement, by the NBA Benin branch, over the weekend, its Chairman, Mr. O. Akere, noted: “We wish to remind the Edo State Government that the strict observance of the rule of law as a fundamental pillar of democracy and adherence to due process are some of the indices by which a responsible government is assessed. The colossal failure of the said competency test is a demonstration of the fact that a determined legitimate resolve of a people cannot be defeated even with the barrel of a gun.”
He, meanwhile, commended teachers in the state for not writing the competency test, saying, “we are also in receipt of information that there is a clandestine move by the Edo State Government to remove from payroll, names of workers whose years of service were legitimately extended as a result of study leave without pay.”
NBA described the move as an affront to the rule of law and a challenge to the sensibility of the people of the state and advised the government to desist from taking such unlawful and disgraceful step.
It noted that it was the responsibility of any responsible government to do things to enhance the welfare of workers and not to undermine same, as the decision to extend the services of workers who went on study leave without pay was a decision of the Federal Executive Council in 2006, which was subsequently adopted by the Edo State Executive Council.
“Even if the Edo State Executive Council decides to reverse its decision on the issue, such reversal should not be retro-active,” it said.