THE Colleges Of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), has stressed the need for a review of the Act on the establishment of Federal Colleges of Education (FCEs) in Nigeria.
The President of COEASU, Comrade Nuhu Ogirima, a lecturer with FCE, Okene who made the call at a Press Conference, noted that the Act establishing the Federal Colleges of Education, which has been the springboard for those of the State colleges, is quite obsolete.
According to him, the law which he said was enacted in 1986, reflects the initial locations of most of the Colleges as against their current States, which he was brought about by the creation of States over the years.
Speaking further Ogirima said “besides, the reality of the functions of the institutions belie the initial conception of their mandate. By implication, most of the services of these institutions could be conveniently termed illegal in the face of the law.
“Thus, the situation has made it imperative for a review of the Act to reflect such realities. So, with the agitation of the Union in 2018, there was an expeditious passage of the Bill by the 8th National Assembly. Sadly, it was not transmitted to Mr. President for assent.
“Hence, the need for the 9th National Assembly (NASS) to institute a fresh legislative process, as a matter of urgency, to re-enact the Law.
“The stalled Renegotiation of 2010 FGN-COEASU Agreement: Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention, are binding on all parties, and subject to renegotiation every five years.
“By implication, ours should have been due for renegotiation in 2014 as well as 2019. FGN is in serial default. With the agitation of the Union, the renegotiation commenced in 2017 but got stalled unilaterally by FGN. No explanation has been offered, howsoever.
“The implication of the stalled process is that the Conditions of Service to which the academic staff has been in the last decade is quite obsolete/outdated. In other words, the document ought to have been renegotiated twice to usher in new provisions on the working conditions of staff, the workplace and institution structure in line with current realities.
On funding, he noted that the gross under-funding of COEs has been abysmally consistent with FGN, saying that “unfortunately, State governments toe the line of FGN in this regard. It could be said that FGN encourages irresponsibility towards funding obligations.
“Credence to this claim can be seen in the ministerial appointment of a former governor known to have paid ridiculous salaries and emoluments to the staff of his State’s Colleges of Education. At the expiration of his tenure, FGN compensated him for meritorious service with the ministerial appointment in spite of owing staff thirty-eight (38) months salary, without utilizing the “bail-out” which FGN gave him to cater for the salary.
“The issue of funding affects the system in all ramification. For example, between 2012 and 2017 the funds released as capital allocation to COEs by FGN stood at just about 56% of the budgeted sums. A little while before the period in question, especially from 2006 to 2008, the totality of allocation to COEs relative to other sister institutions, was appalling.
“While the relative huge allocation to the university sub-sector in the period can be understood for obvious reasons of their enormous responsibilities and quite divergent services, that of the polytechnics, with similar conditions of service and related infrastructure with COEs remains higher till date.
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