By Joseph Erunke
DR Smart Odunayo Olugbeko, the new president of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU,has appealed to governors of Edo and Abia states to pay salaries of staff of their states’ colleges of education to ameliorate their sufferings.
This came as he claimed that some governors have abandoned their constitutional role in catering for their state- established colleges of education and had rather placed it on the shoulder of Tertiary Education Trust Fund,TETFund.
Olugbeko, while regretting that by “the end of July, staff of Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu, would be owed salaries for 31 months, also noted that staff of the old Edo State College of Education, Ekiadolor were owed salaries for several months.
Speaking ,Thursday, in his inaugural speech at the National Delegates’ Congress of COEASU, held in Abuja, he particularly said over 500 staff of the Edo college were yet to be properly deployed to campuses of state owned colleges of education.
He vowed that his leadership was hitting “the ground running with appeals for expeditious attention by the governors of these colleges towards mitigating the sufferings of our members by addressing these lingering challenges with dispatch.”
Olugbeko said,“Some states governments have abdicated their primary responsibility of funding their colleges to Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
Olugbeko also regretted the delay in concluding renegotiation of the FGN-COEASU 2010 Agreement,asking that actions be put in place lay the development to rest.
He said: “The flagrant impunity and open display of executive insensitivity against our members by some states governments is a sheer lack of respect for human dignity.
“The unsavoury reports revealing some State Government’s refusal to pay salaries of staff for months/years is regrettable and appalling.
“For instance: as of the end of July, staff of Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu have not received their salary for 31 months while the staff of the defunct Edo State College of Education, Ekiadolor are being similarly owed many months of unpaid salaries and over 500 staff of the institution are yet to be properly deployed to the three campuses of the state-owned COEs.”
According to him,several “colleges of education were suffering from a lack of attention and interest by their proprietors.”
Olugbeko named other issues confronting lecturers of colleges of education as challenges with Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System,IPPIS implementation, employment of academic staff without regard for due process, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears.
Earlier, in his farewell speech, outgoing President of COEASU, Nuhu Ogirima,lamented the worsening state of security in Nigeria, as according to him,many members of his organisation had suffered so much due to the development.
Ogirima therefore, tasked the security and relevant authorities to improve in their roles of securing people and property, saying such measures were necessary in view of ongoing abduction of students,teachers and staff of schools in some parts of the country by bandits.