By Adebayo Olodan
The Academic Staff Union of Kwara State College of Education (COEASU), Ilorin, has disclosed that its members boycotted the second semester examination on Monday to press home their demand for the four and half months salary owed them.
Speaking with our reporter, yesterday, the COEASU Chairman, Ilorin, Comrade Balqees Ajoke Olasinde said normalcy has since Tuesday returned to the institution following payment of June salary by the state government.
“Following the payment of our June salary, we have recommenced the second semester examination while we hope that the state government will attend to other arrears and the decaying facilities in the college,” Olasinde stated.
Students of the institution had on Monday staged a peaceful protest against the plight of their lecturers and disruption of their second semester examination.
The placard-carrying students started the protest from their campus through the popular Ibrahim Taiwo road and were heading for the Government House along Ahmadu Bello way.
On getting to Challenge area, policemen were said to have shot teargas canisters into the air to disperse the protesting students, many of whom scampered for safety.
Speaking on behalf of the students, the Speaker of the Students Union Government, Ajamiu Mathew blamed the state government for not meeting the needs of the institution especially in the area of funding.
He said, “We are ready to collaborate to make sure we return to classrooms but what we are just trying to do is to negotiate with the provost, go out and meet the state government so that this will not last long.
“Let me just be sincere with you I’m a final year student and I was delayed in my year one, year two, even I can tell you vividly when I resumed in year three as newly elected executive, we led a protest like this because our lecturers refused to make things available for us, this is going to affect our younger ones if we refuse to help them before leaving the seat.”
Justifying the workers’ decision on Monday, the COESU Chairman, said, “We have written series of letters, held several meetings on our plight but to no avail. We however decided to suspend the last strike in honour of the new provost, Dr AbdulRaheem Yusuf.
“We felt it is high time we express our grievances so that Kwarans and the public will know what we are going through at the college. We are not going on strike but we are boycotting the exam,” she earlier stated.
Similarly, the spokesman of COEASU, Comrade Akanbi Mustapha Babatunde urged the government to revisit most of its reforms that are not favourable to tertiary education adding that for the past seven years the institution had consistently embarked on strike.
In a swift reaction on Monday, the Kwara State Government said it has released the sum of N125million as June 2018 subvention to all the state-owned tertiary institutions.
The Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Barr. Abdullahi Alkinla stated that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed had approved the release of the funds since last Wednesday.
He said that immediately the approval was given, the state Ministry of Finance swung into action to ensure that the institutions get the money before last Friday.
He, however, explained that the banks could not process the payment of the money until yesterday morning, adding that the funds had dropped into the accounts of the institutions.
Alkinla further said that the Provost of the college, Dr. Yusuf had on Monday confirmed to him the receipt of the institution’s share of the money.