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May 26, 2024

FG clarifies tenure rules for provosts following new act

FG clarifies tenure rules for provosts following new act

Abuja, Nigeria – The Federal Ministry of Education has provided a detailed clarification regarding the implementation of the Federal Colleges of Education Act, 2023, particularly in relation to the tenure of Provosts.

This comes in response to a letter from the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Staff Unions of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, dated 8th April 2024, which requested clarity to avoid potential crises in the sector.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry’s Legal Unit on May 23, 2024, the amended Act stipulates a single, non-renewable five-year term for Provosts of Federal Colleges of Education. This provision is aimed at standardizing tenure across institutions and ensuring a clear succession plan.

The statement highlighted key provisions of the Act, including the single term of five years as per section 13(6) of the amended Act, meaning Provosts are now limited to a single term of five years without the possibility of renewal. Transitional arrangements under section 13(7) address the status of Provosts appointed before the Act was enacted. Specifically, Provosts with less than five years in office will serve a single term of five years, regardless of their original appointment terms. Those serving a second term at the time the Act was enacted will complete their current four-year term without any extension.

Further scenario-specific interpretations were provided. For Provosts who had not completed their first four-year term before the Act’s enactment, an additional year is added to make it a five-year term, with no option for renewal. For Provosts re-appointed for a second four-year term before the Act’s commencement, this term will be their final one, and they will not transition to a five-year term.

The Ministry emphasized that these measures are intended to uphold justice and equity by allowing Provosts to complete their appointed terms without disruption. The clear language of the Act reflects the legislative intent to provide stability and prevent ambiguity in leadership transitions within the Colleges of Education.

The Ministry referenced a Supreme Court ruling in Olofu v. Itodo (2010), which underscores the importance of interpreting statutes according to their plain and ordinary meaning. This principle has guided the Ministry’s interpretation of the new provisions.

The Ministry encourages any unresolved issues or grievances regarding these provisions to be directed to the Governing Council of the respective institutions for further consideration. The Federal Ministry of Education commended the Joint Action Committee for its efforts to maintain a peaceful industrial environment and reiterated its commitment to enforcing the Federal Colleges of Education Act, 2023, and other relevant regulations.

The Honourable Minister of Education extends his warm regards and appreciates the continued cooperation and trust of the academic community.

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