The Academic Staff Union of Colleges of Education (COEASU) has threatened to suspend community services and even an industrial action should the government continue the trends of not funding the Colleges of Education in Nigeria.
The union also accused the Federal Government of manipulating salaries of workers under the guise of the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS)
Speaking with Journalists in Abuja, President of COEASU Comrade Nuhu Ogirima frowned at a new development whereby state governments have become adamant in paying salaries, especially COEs under their purview.
Comrade Ogirima lamented that colleges of education in the country were operating on the archaic Act, since 1986, calling for an urgent review to save the sub-sector.
According to him, is now a norm for the government at all levels to ignore the plight of teaching personnel, a development that manifests in abandoning all agreements that necessitated strikes in the past.
“The gross under-funding of COEs has been abysmally consistent with FGN. Quite unfortunately, State governments toe the line of FGN in this regard. It could be said that FGN encourages irresponsibility towards funding obligations. The issue of funding affects the system in all ramifications. For example, between 2012 and 2017 the funds released as capital allocation to COEs by FGN stood at just about 56% of the budgeted sums. A little while before the period in question, especially from 2006 to 2008, the totality of allocation to COEs relative to other sister institutions, was appalling.
“Currently, FGN has been manipulating academic staff salary with the imposition of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) in several ways; from the unilateral stop of payment of academic staff on Sabbatical Leave, the imposition of non-negotiated Personal Income Tax, to over-deduction of the payable amount of Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
“So, the union hereby formally declares that all options are open for industrial action against FGN 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 government,”.
On the obsolete Act, Comrade Ogirima said, “There is a need to review the establishment Act of FCEs: which has been the springboard for those of the State colleges, is quite obsolete. Enacted in 1986, the law reflects the initial location of most of the Colleges as against their current States brought about by the creation of States over the years.
“Besides, the reality of the functions of the institutions believe the initial conception of their mandate. By implication, most of the services of these institutions could be conveniently termed illegal in the face of the law. Thus, the situation has made it imperative for a review of the Act to reflect such realities. So, with the agitation of the Union in 2018, there was an expeditious passage of the Bill by the 7th National Assembly. Sadly, it was not transmitted to Mr. President for assent. Hence, the need for the 8th National Assembly (NASS) to institute a fresh legislative process, as matter of urgency, to re-enact the Law”.