The Kwara government has nullified the employment of over 2,000 workers employed by the state universal education board (SUBEB) in 2018.
Abdulfatah Ahmed, immediate past governor of Kwara, had approved the employment of the affected teachers as part of efforts to address the shortage at the time.
Yakub Ali-Agan, spokesman of the ministry of education and human capital development, in a statement on Friday, said the government directed the sack of the workers following an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which showed illegalities in the employment process.
He also explained that Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, governor of Kwara, has directed that the employment process be restarted, while 594 of the teachers whose salaries had been withheld since June 2020 be paid on “compassionate grounds”.
“Everyone whose salaries were withheld since June has now had same paid strictly on compassionate grounds. The government’s decision to withhold their salaries was not unilateral or punitive. It was as a result of the unlawful insertion of their names to the payroll without executive approval,” the spokesman said.
Ali-Agan noted that investigations by the government revealed that some of the teachers didn’t have the requisite qualifications, just as the number of those employed exceeded the figure approved by the former administration.
“A total number of 2,414 SUBEB teachers were engaged in the twilight of the past administration. They are otherwise called sunset workers. This figure is a violent contravention of the executive approval by former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed who had authorised the employment of 1,100 qualified teachers to take English Language, Mathematics, and Science subjects only,” the statement reads.
“On assumption of office in 2019, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, faced with conflicting claims on these workers, magnanimously authorised the screening of all of them, after which 1,658 were cleared as qualified. Surprisingly, additional 594 got inserted into the payroll. There are claims that 162 more were part of the mix. This was discovered during Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s investigation of the untidy process that kept throwing up conflicting figures of employees and mind-boggling details of how non-qualified persons were engaged.
“For instance, it was discovered that several of the 1,658 purportedly adjudged to be qualified do not in fact have required teaching certificates. It was discovered that teachers were engaged for subjects not covered in the executive approval, underscoring the unwholesome and impeachable nature of the entire process.
“Flowing from the above, the government has decided to start the employment process all over again in January 2021. The government will open a new application portal for all the 2,414 and any other eligible persons to apply for SUBEB teaching jobs in relevant subjects to be advertised. This effectively nullifies the controversial employment process of 2018/2019.
“This new process will be largely technology-driven, and needs-based, while every applicant will go through rigorous screenings.
“This painful yet necessary decision is built on justice and fairness to everyone, particularly taxpayers and our children whose future depends on the quality of teaching they receive at the elementary schools. It is the right thing to be done in the interest of our education sector which has suffered from years of unhealthy practices as those mentioned above.”