More Strikes May Hit Nigerian Tertiary Institutions, As COEASU Threatens Action, Begins Referendum

Colleges of education academic staff union, COEASU has threatened to shutdown institutions nationwide, as the federal government continues to renage on agreement.

This is contained in a press release by COEASU President, Dr. Smart Olugbeko ahead of its meeting in okene.

PRESS RELEASE

FG HAS STRETCHED OUR PATIENCE TO BAREST LIMIT – COEASU
For the umpteenth time we are calling on well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders in the tertiary education sector to prevail on Government to urgently take appropriate actions to avert industrial crisis in the College of Education system. The FG has been ridiculously unfair to Colleges of Education by taking our understanding for granted without corresponding action on her series of promises on festering issues. Our Union has demonstrated exceptional restrain from allowing interruption in the academic calendar of COEs through strike, all because of the consideration we have for our students and teacher education which is key to the rejuvenation of the basic education sub-sector which in turn is a sine qua non for the dire solutions the country needs to solve her multifaceted problem of insecurity of different shades. Our compassion for our students remains infinite but our capacity to endure FG’s injustice against COEs is not, and our patience has been stretched to the barest limits. We do not guarantee industrial harmony going forward! The entire Nigerian public should hold Government responsible for the impending industrial crisis across the entire College of Education system.

Dilly-Dallying Posture of Government to Renegotiation of COEASU-FGN 2009 Agreement
While the long anticipated renegotiation of COEASU-FGN 2009 Agreement holds enormous promise for mutual resolution of several challenges bedevilling the COE system, the FG has failed to accord the exercise deserved priority. 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 three months now.

Non-Release of Pledged N15b Revitalization Fund
Government has refused to accede to our demand for the fulfilment of her own pledge of N15b revitalization fund. Apart from being a far cry from the over N400b 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. More ludicrously, media reports quoted the Honourable Minister of State for Education as having said, on various public occasions, that the palliative fund had been released by the FG, whereas what we received was a call to propose modalities for the disbursement. The frustrating wait for the disbursement of this fund has continued ever thereafter.

Recalcitrant Insistence on IPPIS against more reliable alternative of UTAS
The Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) has caused more havoc to tertiary institutions than good. Up till the end of March, 2022, one thousand two hundred and nineteen (1,219) lecturers in COEs are experiencing one problem or the other with IPPIS. We use this medium to reiterate our earlier statement that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), an alternative innovation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is superior to IPPIS and has the capacity to address payroll security concerns and the peculiarities of tertiary institutions. Our unrepentant position remains, the FG should drop her ego and adopt UTAS for the entire tertiary education sector.

Going Forward…
Against the foregoing unacceptable conditions, the National Executive Council (NEC) of our Union had, at its last meeting, requested referenda from all Chapter Congresses towards the declaration of appropriate action at its next meeting coming up at Federal College of Education, Okene, this weekend. It is on this note that we are again calling the FG and State Governments to do the needful without further delay to avert a looming crisis in the COE subsector of the Nigerian tertiary education system.

“A stitch in time saves nine!”