COEASU demands N441bn from FG and begins nationwide strike

The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, on Thursday, directed its members nationwide to immediately withdraw their services.

The union accused the Federal Government of failing to provide the outstanding N441bn resulting from the received NEEDS Assessment of Federal Colleges of Education.

The President of COEASU, Nuhu Ogirima, who issued the directive for the withdrawal of services during a press conference in Abuja, said with what was happening in the education sector, where all the unions were embarking on strike over poor funding and neglect, the Federal Government had disappointed Nigerians.

He said, “We have directed our members nationwide to withdraw their services with effect from today (Thursday). While the relative huge allocation to the university sub-sector in the period (2006-2008) can be understood for obvious reasons of their enormous responsibilities and quite divergent services, that of the polytechnics with similar conditions of service and related infrastructure with Colleges of Education remains higher till date.

“It is quite evident that the union’s agitation is an existential struggle geared towards the revitalisation of the COE system. As the main entity for the training of the teachers and managers of the foundation level of the nation’s education system, the sustained neglect of the COEs portends a grave implication for the development of the entire educational system.

“So, the union hereby formally declares that all options are open for an industrial action against the Federal Government and some notorious state governments. The public should take notice that the NEC shall reconvene shortly to unveil the series of measures that the union shall take towards bailing the COE system from the doldrums and further decadence inherent in the wanton neglect by the government.”

According to him, several efforts through correspondences to get the Federal Government to attend to the demands of the union have failed to yield results.

The COEASU President also alleged that the Federal Government had been manipulating academic staff salary through the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System; unilateral stoppage of payment of academic staff on sabbatical leave; imposition of non-negotiated Personal Income Tax; and excessive deduction for the Contributory Pension Scheme.

He said the union was left with no option but to commence a series of actions that would lead to a full blown nationwide strike as soon as the schools reopen.

Ogirima said the National Executive Committee of COEASU would meet to approve further actions to compel the government to respond to its demands, including poor funding and neglect of infrastructure in the institutions.

He said that a NEEDS assessment of the public colleges of education was conducted and a report made in 2014.

According to him the initial cost implication of the exercise was over N900bn, adding that the implication of the report impacted on all aspects of the infrastructure of public-owned colleges of education.

Ogirima said the current administration requested a review in 2017, which was done, adding that a report, with the cost implication of N456bn, was submitted to the Federal Government in the first quarter of 2018.

 

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