By Daniel Ayantoye
The Academic Staff Union of Kwara State College of Education(COEASU), Ilorin on Tuesday embarked on indefinite strike over what they described poor working condition following the withdrawal of subvention from the institution.
They maintained that the state government should see education as social service, hence the need to make funding of institutions in the state a priority.
Speaking during a peaceful protest at the college premises, the Chairman of the Association Comrade (Dr.) Mamman Daniel Saba, said that they have not been paid their salary from June till date.
According to him, other issues are poor welfarism, victimisation and retrenchment threat of union leaders and astronomical increase of school fees.
He added that the management is completely financially incapacitated to meet up with the running cost of the college through Internal Generated Revenue hence the subvention given by the state government should be restored.
“Initially government was given subvention of N45 million per month and with the intervention it reduced to N15 million for payment of salary coupled with the IGR but it didn’t work, the result is backlog of salaries, which is not good for the system. All we are saying is that government should restore the subvention,” he said.
Other issues raised by the union are; non-payment of October incremental salary from 2015 till date, promotion of staff from 2012 till date without financial backing, non-gazetted service year of 40 and 65 years for academic and non academic staff respectively.
This medium yesterday gathered that the strike was also embarked upon by the local chapter of the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Union of College of Education.
When our reporter visited the institution yesterday, some students were spotted outside the premises waiting to resolve one issue or the other as the school is presently not in session.
One of the students, who spoke to this medium, Abdulganiyu Oseni said, “We appeal to the state government to pay our lecturers in order not to jeopardise our future.”
Efforts to get the Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Dr Aminat Ahmed to speak on the issue proved abortive as her mobile phone was switched off.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Media and Communications, Dr Muideen Akorede blamed the financial challenges confronting all tiers of government for the plight of workers of the institution.
“The intervention fund of the institution is paid on daily basis and you will recall that from the Paris Club refund they were paid the fund. They are due for another payment soon but we all know what is going on in the country, so the government hopes that the people understands too.
“The government will pay it very soon and they should return to work in the interest of their students.
The point is that their current subvention was agreed with their management who also made a commitment on the amount of Internal Generated Revenue they can raise and that is what formed their new subvention. Their management gave the amount they would be able to raise and that gave rise to the amount approved as their subvention,”Akorede stated.