THE Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to address it’s demands or face an industrial action. This is contained in a statement signed by COEASU’s President, Smart Olugbeko, and General Secretary, Ahmed Bazza, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The statement noted that after extensive deliberation, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union resolved to issue the ultimatum, which took effect from May 9. The NEC also resolved that in the event that the government fails to do the needful within the period of the ultimatum, the union would declare appropriate industrial action.
COEASU therefore called on well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders in the tertiary education sector to prevail on the government to urgently take appropriate actions before the ultimatum lapses.
“The National Executive Council (NEC) of our great union convened at the Federal College of Education, Okene, Kogi State on May 6 to compile the outcome of a referendum conducted across all chapters nationwide.
“We re-assessed the seriousness of the government towards resolution of festering issues and decided the way forward.
“The NEC observed, with consternation, that the FG has been ridiculously unfair to the union by taking the understanding shown over time for granted and leaving issues unaddressed, in spite of the union’s entreaties,” the statement reads in part.
The statement further said the dilly-dallying posture of the government to renegotiation of COEASU-FGN 2010 Agreement remained unaddressed.
It said that the long anticipated renegotiation of COEASU-FGN 2010 agreement holds enormous promise for mutual resolution of several challenges bedevilling the colleges of education system. It accused the government of refusing to accord the exercise deserved priority.
The statement added: “Ridiculously, the FG has refused to constitute her own renegotiation team after acknowledging receipt of our union’s team list on her own request for over two months now.
“The government has refused to accede to our demand for the fulfilment of her own pledge of N15bn revitalisation fund.
“Apart from being a far cry from N478bn, being the outcome of the 2014 Presidential Needs Assessment across public COEs, the delay in its release has made nonsense of the value due to inflation.”
The statement also denied media reports quoting the Minnister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu as having said on various public occasions that the revitalisation fund had been released by the government.
It said what the union received was a call to propose modalities for the disbursement, saying that the frustrating wait for the disbursement of the fund had continued ever thereafter.
On poor funding of colleges of education and poor conditions across state-owned COEs, it said that the sector had continued to suffer untold hardships through non-payment of salary and salary arrears as well as refusal to implement the statutory salary structure in full.
“Many colleges find it difficult to run smoothly due to non-release of running costs by the government.
“Many state governments have abdicated their responsibility as proprietors to TETFund, as the only projects you see in the colleges are TETFund projects,” COEASU said, adding that the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is causing more havoc to tertiary institutions than good.
It said as of the end of March, a total of 1,219 lecturers across various colleges of education are experiencing one problem or the other with IPPIS.
“COEASU has demanded the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), an alternative innovation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“UTAS has been found superior to IPPIS as it has the capacity to address our payroll security concerns and the peculiarities of tertiary institutions.”