By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—FRESH tension is brewing between the Edo State Government and secondary school teachers over plans by Governor Godwin Obaseki to re-introduce competency test for teachers despite a restraining order by the National Industrial Court, NIC, forbidding the government from doing so, pending the determination of their substantive suit.
Already, some of the secondary school teachers have been invited with letters to write the competency test on August 15, at Imaguero College Hall, Benin City.
The invitation letter, dated August 9, was signed by Mr. Edmund Idahosa, Permanent Secretary in the Head of Service’s office.
The letter stated that those invited will be tested in the areas of management paper, principles and practice in public service, civil service rules and financial instructions, general knowledge and knowledge of internal and external environment.
However, the secondary school teachers, in a petition to the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, through their counsel, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi, contended that the order of the President of NIC, Justice B. A. Adejumo, restraining the defendants from conducting the competency test still subsists.
The petition read in part: “It may interest you to know that the suit is still pending at the National Industrial Court, Enugu Division, and the injunction still subsists. As a matter of fact, the case has been adjourned to September 25 and your office has been representing the defendants through a state counsel in the matter.”
The Secretary to the State Government, Head of Service, Chairman, Post Primary Education Board and Registrar, National Industrial Court, Enugu Division, were copied.
The teachers disclosed that the defendants, the Professor Dennis Agbonlahor Committee, saddled with the conduct of the test, “in flagrant disobedience to the court order,” still went ahead to conduct the test which became a flop when teachers failed to show up on the day of the test.
They informed the state government that following a contempt of court proceeding initiated against the government and the committee over the act of disobedience to the order of the court, former Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, decided to mend fences with the teachers, adding that they decided to drop the case in the interest of peace.
They, however, lamented that while they were still on holidays, they received letters of invitations for the competency test.
The teachers, through their counsel, called the Attorney-General to advise the governor not to embark on any act that will amount to contempt of court.