The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), North Central Zone, has appealed to the Federal Government to address the union’s legitimate demands to avert an industrial action.
The union made the appeal in a statement signed by its Vice President and Zonal Coordinator, Mr Noah Danlami, in Kaduna on Thursday.
It cautioned the Federal and State governments that failure to address the legitimate demands with the urgency they deserve, would cripple the college of education system in the country.
The union stressed that the inaction of the government would leave all colleges of education in the zone with no option than to participate in any industrial action declared by its national body.
According to the union, the outright neglect by governments to the plight of the colleges of education has adversely affected the smooth running of these institutions.
“COEASU North Central zone hopes that government at all levels and other critical stakeholders in the education sector will not allow the situation to degenerate to industrial disharmony.
“This will be counterproductive to the realisation of the laudable goals for which Colleges of Education were established and the general growth and development of the education sector of our nation,” the union said.
Our correspondent recalls that the National Executive Council of the union on May 11 gave the Federal government a 21-day ultimatum to meet its demands or face industrial action.
Some of the lingering issues, according to the union, include reluctance of the Federal Government to renegotiate the 2010 Agreement and the refusal to adopt UTAS Platform for payment of salaries of universities and other tertiary institutions.
There is also the refusal of the Federal Government to release the N15 billion pledged revitalisation fund made in 2019, in addition to the N478 billion outstanding Presidential Needs Assessment Fund Agreement.
Another issue is the poor funding of colleges of education and poor conditions of service for state-owned colleges, especially colleges in the North Central Zone.
The union said that the Kaduna State Government, for example, still pays staff of its College of Education, Gidan Waya, a mutilated version of the obsolete CONTISS Salary Structure.
According to the lecturers, the salary structure is still in use 13 years after its abolition and replacement with CONPCASS and CONTEDISS Salary Structures for academic and non-academic Staff respectively.
“Also, the Benue State Colleges of Education in Katsina-Ala and Oju have been owing Salary arrears for between four and five months till date.
“Similarly, Plateau State College of Education, Gindiri, Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa, Nasarawa State College of Education, Akwanga, and the Niger State College of Education, Minna, have all been subjected to ridiculous conditions of Service.
“These range from poor salary, non-implementation of the legally approved 65 years retirement age, multiple promotions without financial benefits.
“Others are illegal introduction of extraneous promotion conditions outside the National Commission for Colleges of Education approved promotion requirements, among others.”
The union further lamented that many state governments have abdicated their responsibilities to their State-owned Colleges of Education to Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
“This is unacceptable,” the union said.