Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has assured that the State Government would not sack any teacher as a result of the on-going public service reforms.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that public primary and secondary schools in the state were shut down due to the on-going strike which entered its 11th day on Thursday.
A statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, on Thursday said the governor gave the assurance at the inauguration of the Governing Councils of two state owned tertiary institutions.
The strike was embarked by the Nigeria Union of Teachers over outstanding salary of eight months owed primary school teachers in the state.
Dickson said that the government would rather train and retrain the teachers in the state for greater productivity.
The institutions involved were Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama; and the Bayelsa State College of Health Technology, Otuogidi, at Ogbia.
The governor said only teachers with fake certificates or those who refuse to be at their duty posts to work have reasons to be afraid of sack.
He enjoined the chairmen and members of the new governing boards to ensure that only people who should be in the institutions are engaged.
He stressed that the previous practice in the state where unborn children, octogenarians and retirees were dubiously included in the payroll should not be tolerated.
He said the government would provide grants to all state-owned tertiary institutions with effect from January, as well as upgrade their infrastructure and enhance their revenue generating capacity.
“You are self-accounting and self-governing but we will give you grant as you have proposed.
“We expect you to sit down with your management and get only those staff that you need to run effective courses and programmes.
“Indeed, the only constant factor is the academic factor because they are academic institutions. You need more academic staff.
“The former ways of opening gates of employment to everybody, including unborn children, people who stay away in Lagos and are collecting salary, 80 years or more people still getting salaries, all these have to stop.
“You have to save that money for your institution.
“You must take firm decisions as a council. This year will witness a lot of training by all cadres of public servants, especially teachers.
“Our policy is not to sack any teacher unless they don’t go to work, unless they have fake certificates, or they have committed any other acts of misconduct.
“Our policy from this year is to ensure that teachers go through the period of training and retraining.
“There is already a bill before the House of Assembly that will mandate certification for all teachers in all schools in this state.”
In their separate responses, the chairman of the Governing Council of the Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Chief Thompson Okorotie, and his College of Health Technology counterpart, Sen. Rufus Inatimi-Spiff, expressed gratitude to Dickson for the appointment.
They promised to do their best in order not to fail in their new responsibilities.
Members of the Governing Council of the Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education are Mrs Mary Omuso, Dr Gabriel Apaingolo, Mr Ojo Magbisa, Ms Ruby Itonyo, Mr Gabriel Obonin and Dr Tonye Ogiriki.
Their counterparts for the College of Health Technology Governing Council are Dr Isaac Oworodo, Mr Oyinkuro Lagos, Ms Bini Ayafa and Chief Okoko Stample Esau.