By Mike Adeyemi
Workers of the three Colleges of Education in Kwara State have commenced an indefinite industrial action over the failure of the state government to meet up with their five-point demands which include their outstanding salaries and accreditation of courses.
A week ago, the workers under the aegis of Committee of Unions of Tertiary Institutions (CUTI) of Colleges of Education in Kwara, issued three days warning to the government.
These institutions include; Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, Kwara State College of Education, Oro and College of Education Technical, Lafiagi.
Recall that the College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies (CAILS), Ilorin had penultimate week embarked on strike over similar demands.
Speaking during a press briefing in Ilorin, yesterday, the Chairman of CUTI, Comrade Imam Abdulkadir said; the union had presented a five–point demand which the state government is yet to meet.
“The demands include the release of funds for accreditation of courses, payment of backlog of salaries, 30 per cent salary increment, promotion and payment of promotion benefits accrued since 2013.”
Imam said several efforts to get the state government’s support on accreditation of courses in those institutions have proven abortive.
“Most courses in the colleges have not been accredited, which invariably mean the students are just wasting their time. The repercussion is that our students would be issued certificates that have no value if those courses are not accredited,” he lamented.
Speaking further, Abdulkadir said rather than attending to their demands, the state government through an aide of the governor, went on air to announce payment of all the salary arrears including meeting other conditions.
Similarly, the Secretary, Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education, Abdulhammed Yusuf, said, “In the last three years or so, there is hardly any year that we have not gone on strike. In fact, it seems the government is not ready to do anything except we go on strike.
“Last month, it was with some efforts before the government paid us May 2017 salary, as it is, the government still owes us the salary of June and July 2017 here in College of Education, Ilorin,” Yusuf said.
On the demand for salary increment, Yusuf explained that Kwara was the only state still paying 70 per cent of the approved salary scale for staff of the colleges.
Lamenting the industrial action, the President of Biology Students Association, Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, Abdulmalik Saheed, said, “It is disheartening this is happening at this time. Though we are used to incessant strike action but we had thought the causative of it all had been settled.
“We the students wish to appeal to the state government to please attend to the request of the lecturers.”
Another student who spoke on condition of anonymity berated the state government for not attending to the needs of CUTI adding that the strike may jeopardise the future of the students.
Reacting, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Media and Communications, Dr Muideen Akorede, said the government was yet to receive official notice on the strike.
“We are yet to receive official notification of the strike, however, we hope the lecturers and workers will continue to employ dialogue with the government on these matters as strikes don’t solve problems.’’