Twenty-four hours after the declaration of industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union has threatened to take action if the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) failed to implement the agreement signed between the Federal Government and the union.
The union said it has observed that the Federal Government has over time shown preference for crises and has no respect for peaceful resolution.
A statement signed by the president of the union, Smart Olugbeko, and made available to our correspondent in Abuja expressed the dissatisfaction of the union towards the steps being taken by the government towards the implementation of the 2009 agreement.
The statement partly read, “The National Officers’ Council of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union has observed with utter dismay the attitude of the Federal Government to the Colleges of Education sub-sector.
“The Union in its characteristic disposition to peaceful resolution of issues has between August and December 2021 met with the Minister, the Permanent Secretary, Directors, and other officials of government that have roles in addressing the lingering issues between the Union and the government several times.
“The issues of Renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, the crises being created by the imposition of IPPIS and the release of the N15 billion Revitalisation Fund are critical to development of Colleges of Education in Nigeria and the Union has put these among others in the front burner for government to quickly resolve them.
“As critical as these issues are, the Federal government has been lackadaisical in resolving them.
“The Federal Government in 2013 constituted a Presidential Committee to assess the needs of Colleges of Education in Nigeria, the Report submitted in 2014 by the Team indicated that the sum N391,086,738,636 which was later reviewed in 2017 by the Federal Ministry of Education toN465,599,691,914.18, would be needed to reposition Colleges of Education in Nigeria for better performance and for national development.
“The Federal Government citing paucity of funds in 2018 agreed to release N15 billion to revitalise Colleges of Education in Nigeria. The Union has been consistent in mounting pressure on the government to release this fund to colleges to meet their urgent needs that are hampering teaching and learning.
“The government has totally abandoned its responsibility of adequately funding teacher education as the government has left Colleges of Education in Nigeria to continue to suffer from infrastructural decay while the running of the Colleges is being done by the paltry Internally Generated Revenue of the Colleges.
“This attitude of government has further watered-down standards in our colleges and demotivated both staff and students as there are inadequate lecture rooms, ill-equipped laboratories, obsolete libraries, and an unconducive learning environment.
“The various efforts made by the Union to make the government live up to its promise has not yielded any positive result. Our Union has been careful in deploying the instrumentality of strike to resolve the issues which we believe can be resolved through dialogue, but it seems this government has preference for crises as it has shown in its dealings with unions that it has no respect for peaceful resolution of issues.”
Threatening industrial action, the statement read, “The Union is therefore calling on the Federal Government to quickly commence the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement with the Union and release the N15 billion Revitalisation Fund to our Colleges.
“The Union will in the next few weeks call the National Executive Council meeting to take necessary actions as permissible by the Trade Union Act if the government fails to do the needful.”
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