By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA– LECTURERS of public Colleges of Education have given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to address pending issues or risk industrial action.
The lecturers under the aegis of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union,COEASU, listed the pending issues to include refusal to effect third party-deductions in most COEs; double standard deployed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment against the COEs, relative to other tertiary institutions and imposition of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System on the COE system which “bedevilled the payment of emoluments of staff with anomalies, infractions and deprivations.”
At a press conference, Wednesday, in Abuja, addressed by the President of COEASU,Nuhu Ogirima, they alleged that the government failed to address the plight of the public colleges’ system one year after sending a memo detailing the deplorable state of the institutions.
The union alleged that most state governments have equally followed the federal government in handling the affairs of their public COEs.
“Consequently, administrative impunity and rights deprivation reign supreme in most of these CEOs. The Expanded National Executive Council at its meeting of 8th July, is, therefore, forced to challenge the government to shut the teacher education industry since the quality of infrastructure, welfare, and service delivery takes no preference in the scheme of governance at all levels,” he said.
He added: “Alternatively, the ENEC wishes that you take notice hereby that should the government refuse to redress all the issues in contention within 21 days, the union would have no other option than to declare a nation-wide industrial action.”
Ogirima recalled that in August 2019, the association transmitted a memo passionately requesting the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to intervene in addressing the plight of the public CEOs system.
He said the memo was predicated on decades of utter neglect of the COE system, which the Federal Ministry of Education could not successfully address.
The memo, published as an open letter to the Presidency, was said to have been also copied to both Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Dr. Chris Ngige.
“In response to our follow-up correspondences, both FME and FML &E had indicated that they were awaiting the President’s response. Sadly, we all are still awaiting the response, almost one year after the memo was received at the Presidency, while the system further degenerates”, COEASU said.
Ogirima said that incidentally, the trust COEASU had on government was misplaced as none of the pledges, including “even the paltry fraction of N15 billion only as a palliative, out of N486 billion required as at 2017, to cushion the effects of the non-implementation of NEEDS Assessment, and others have not been fulfilled till date.”
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