Hundreds of teachers and other workers recently disengaged by the Kaduna State government on Friday rejected an entrepreneurial training organised for them in Zaria.
The angry retirees, who booed the officials that came for the training exercise, said that they were only interested in their entitlements.
DAILY NIGERIAN, reports that the former workers, who were from Zaria, Sabongari, Soba and Giwa Local Government Areas, were among those disengaged after the state government conducted a competency test for primary school teachers.
Others were also retired as part of the state government’s reforms toward re-positioning the local governments for optimum performance.
DAILY NIGERIAN also reports that the training, which was to be conducted at the Alhudahuda College, Zaria City, was to be supervised by Alhaji Adamu Mansir, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The workers, who rejected all entreaties to get them into the training hall, said they had converged on the college because they thought they were to be paid their entitlements.
Malam Adamu Lawal, a former teacher from Giwa Local Government, who spoke with NAN, said that the workers were “very surprised” that government had yet to pay them their entitlements “in spite of all promises”.
“We were suddenly and illegally disengaged from service; government promised to pay us our entitlements immediately after pushing us out, but that has not been done.
“When they summoned us here, we thought they are going to tell us how to obtain our money. Now, they are telling us to sit for a training and be given loans.
“We don’t want loan; all we want is our entitlements. We don’t want any training. Let them just give us what is ours and leave us lone,” he said.
Another retiree, Yusuf Yakubu Soba, from Soba Local Government, declared that the training was useless to him.
“I initially collected the form but returned it to them when I was told that it was for a loan. I don’t want the loan and I don’t want the training.”
A retired teacher from Zaria Local Government, Maryam Muhammad, said that she rushed to the college because she was told that those retired would be re-absorbed into the civil service.
“I came here because they said Gov. Ahmed El-Rufa’i wanted to recall the sacked teachers. I came in around 6 a.m. and was anxious for the good news only to hear a different story.
“They are telling us to fill a form to collect a loan. A lot of us are already highly indebted and would not want to sink into further indebtedness. Let them pay us so that we can reduce out debts.
“This an unfortunate situation. I feel so sad,” she said.
Mrs. Ruya Mathew, a teacher from Zaria Local Government, said that it was a “disgrace” that the Kaduna State Government was yet to settle the disengaged workers their entitlements.
“Government owes us money and should pay up. Instead of doing that, they are asking us to fill form for loan after undergoing training. Government should settle our entitlements before any other action.”
Another retiree, Hassan Sarki Kofar-Doka, said that the workers had accepted their disengagement from service but want their entitlements instead of the training and loans they were being offered.
“We have agreed that government no longer need our services but it should pay us our retirement benefits. Where is this idea of loan coming from?
“We don’t want the loan. All we want is our entitlements. No more, no less,’’ he said.
Another retiree, Salisu Ibrahim Mahmud, said that he honoured the invitation because he thought government had some support to offer the disengaged workers.
“We are not happy, but we came here because we thought that government was considering some little support since they sacked us without prior notice. We have been told that we should go to class and be trained so as to qualify for loans. I don’t understand that.
“We want government to settle our entitlements. We don’t want anything else. We want to settle our creditors because we have accumulated so much debts.
“As for training, no one can teach us how to manage our resources. We can do that on our own,” he said.
When contacted, the Sole Administrator, Zaria Local Government, Alhaji Tukur Abubakar, said that the essence of the meeting was to assist the recently disengaged workers.
“We want to assist them with some training; we want them to learn some trades such as animal breeding, farming and other skills that interest them.
“The essence is to help them to be self-reliant. Whatever is given to them after the training is a free starter pack.
“We want to guide them so that they can continue from where we stopped,’’ he said.
On the retirees’ attitude, he said that the people were too many because former workers from five local governments converged on Zaria for the exercise.
He advised the state government to narrow the meeting to individual local governments to ease the control of the crowd.
“As you can see, nothing was done today because the people were so many. Even the security agencies were helpless,” he said.