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Colleges of Education lecturers declare four-week nationwide strike

The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has declared a one-month strike over the failure of the Federal Government to implement agreements reached with the Union including the non-release of the N15 billion revitalisation fund for the colleges.

The Colleges of Education lectures are also aggrieved at the Federal Government’s recalcitrant insistence on using the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) as the payment platform against the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which they claimed is more reliable alternative that captured the peculiarity of tertiary institutions.

UTAS which was developed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), is still undergoing integrity test with members of ASUU themselves also on strike over the same issue.

The strike notice was contained in a communiqué issued on Tuesday at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of COASU held at Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Delta State on Friday, June 10, 2022. It was co-signed by COASU President, Dr Smart Olugbeko, and Secretary-General Ahmed Lawan Bazza.

The lecturers resolved to resume the strike that was called off on December 5th 2018 after the Asaba meeting which was held to assess the level of responsible action by the Federal Government and decide the way forward upon the lapse of 21-day ultimatum issued by the Union on the lingering issues of the industrial concern.

“NEC unanimously resolved that the total strike action suspended by the Union in December 2018 be resumed immediately for four weeks in the first instance,” COASU said.

The lecturers lamented that the NEC received with utter disappointment the continued inaction of the Government on lingering issues in spite of the Union’s lengthy perseverance and uncommon disposition towards alternative dispute resolution.

They described as worrisome the failure of the Federal Government to reciprocate the patience of COEASU which was underpinned by concern for the plight of the students and the system since December 5th 2018, when the last strike action was suspended.

The communiqué read in part: “After extensive deliberations and dispassionate assessment of the series of engagements of National Officers’ Council with Government officials and critical stakeholders, NOC, while appreciating these efforts and promising disposition of relevant authorities including the Honourable Minister of Education, resolved that only desired results through tangible action by Government would have been enough to prevent industrial action as the Union’s ultimatum lapsed on Monday, June 6, 2022.

“Specifically, NEC condemned non-resolution of the following lingering issues: Failure of FG to constitute its own Team and commence renegotiation of FGN-COEASU 2010 Agreement in spite of all entreaties of the Union.

“Non-release of N15billion approved out of the N456,599,691,914.18Billion revitalisation fund recommended for both Federal and State Colleges of Education contrary to repeated promises of the FG.

“Non-implementation of 2014 Needs assessment report in Colleges of Education.

“Non-payment of outstanding promotion arrears from 2016 to date and Non – payment of responsibility allowance to Librarian in Colleges of Education.

“Non – implementation of the consequential effect of the implementation of CONTISS15 on Lower Cadre (Migration) since 2018.

“Poor Funding of Colleges of Education and poor conditions across State-owned Colleges of Education especially in Ogun, Kwara, Abia, Kogi, Kaduna, Zamfara, Yobe, Oyo, Benue, Edo and Ebonyi States.

“Federal Government’s recalcitrant insistence on IPPIS against more reliable alternative of UTAS that captured the peculiarity of tertiary institutions.

“Refusal of FG to mainstream demonstration school staff in the payroll of the Colleges

“NEC shall reconvene after the four weeks strike action to re-assess the level of Government’s commitment on the issues for appropriate decision on the way forward thenceforth.

“Every Chapter Congress across the federation should convene on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, to adequately inform the Congress on the commencement of the strike action due the festering issues and the status of inaction leading to the industrial action.

“Leadership of the Union at all levels (National, Zonal and Chapter) should embark on emphatic media campaign towards seamless public awareness on the issues leading to the strike action.

“The strike action shall be total and all members of the academic staff in all Colleges of Education (both Federal and State) must withdraw from all statutory duties without exemption.

“All State-owned Colleges already on industrial action to press home local demands should impress on their respective Managements that the local strike shall continue in the unexpected event that their local issues remain unresolved by the end of the nationwide strike.”

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