Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia says plans are underway to reabsorb the sacked 5,853 teachers allegedly employed illegally into the state civil service.
Ikpeazu made this known on Tuesday during a meeting with the sacked teachers from Abia Central Senatorial zone at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Umuahia.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Anthony Agbazuere, said that the decision to reintegrate the sacked teachers was informed by the need to fill the teaching vacancies existing in some schools.
He said, “The state government gave waiver for the employment of 187 teachers only but regrettably, Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB), employed 5,853.
“The state government is not pleased with the recent employment racketeering at the SEMB. If there is a need for government to employ up to 7,000 teachers, it is pertinent to do it properly.
“We will start with absorbing one-third of the 5,853 teachers into the system, then gradually absorb others. Also there is the possibility of moving some people to other sectors.”
He stressed the need for government officials to work within the scope of their duties and not embarrassing government by their unguarded actions.
Ikpeazu said that the reintegration exercise would be done systematically and across all the local government areas in line with the employment guidelines of Federal Character Commission.
He said that Abia Government was not unmindful of their plight and directed head teachers of various schools to write to the Ministry of Education and indicate areas of need in their schools.
In his remarks, Dr Kanelechi Nwangwa, Commissioner for Education, urged school heads to inform the Ministry of Education of their needs in terms of teachers.
He added that the state government was concerned about the wellbeing of Abia school system and teachers.
Mrs Happiness Nwabaji, Acting Executive Secretary of SEMB, commended the state government for its education-friendly disposition.
She thanked the state government for taking measures to bring solution to the recent employment problem in the agency and urged the affected teachers to be patient.
In their responses some of the affected teachers expressed gratitude to the state government for taking the decision to reabsorb them.
Mr Victor Nwadi, a teacher, thanked the state government for its resolve to alleviate their suffering and appealed to the government to follow up its promises with action.
Another teacher, Mrs Precious Onyemobi, thanked the government for inviting the sacked teachers to a meeting and expressed hope that the fruits which the meeting had produced would remain favourable.
The state government had on Aug. 5, through a statement signed by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Dr Anthony Agbazuere, announced the sack of 5,853 public school teachers employed between 2018 and 2020, claiming they were employed illegally.
The government said this was based on the report of a Committee set up to investigate the employments granted without waiver at the Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB).