From Babatunde Rahman, Lokoja.

Lecturers of the Federal College of Education, Okene, Kogi State under the aegis of the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COESU) are presently at loggerheads with the management of the school over the alleged shabby treatment and non payment of some entitlements.

This much was disclosed on Tuesday shortly after a stakeholders Congress held at the College auditorium.

The branch chairman of COESU, Comrade Frank Dele Owa who was flanked by the secretary, Dr Ismaila Oricha Azeez decried the way management of the institution had been treating his members and threatened that lecturers would not resume classes even when the national body resolves its lingering problems with the federal government.

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Comrade Owa specifically mentioned that Congress had resolved that unless the management pays the 21 months outstanding arrears for Peculair Earned Academic Allowance (PEAA) owed old staff and four months owed new staff, the members will not return back to classes.

The Chairman stated that the union is also calling on management to pay all the outstanding arrears on sabbatical leave to its members especially that of 2015 which is one month and that of 2016 which is two months.

He said Congress frowns at the way management refused to release its members for sabbatical leave which it said was antithetical to intellectual growth and industrial harmony and urged it to rescind the decision immediately.

Comrade Dele said it was appallingly and discouraging that the federal government has consistently neglected Colleges of Education in the country in terms of funding, infrastructural development and bearing of over head costs saying these have actually contributed to the low quality of education in the country.

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He alleged that the federal government has been manipulating academic staff salary with “the imposition of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and the unilateral stoppage of payment of academic staff on sabbatical leave, imposition of non-negotiated Personal Income Tax, to overdeduction of payable amount of Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS)”.

He said other impropriety which the IPPIS has engendered is the non-remittance of third-party deductions especially for staff cooperative societies and the statutory union check-off dues (in contravention of ILO Convention and its own Laws.

The Union which said the non release of the check off dues to the various chapters of the union was a ploy to weaken union activities, also joined its national body to appeal to the federal government to release the ₦15 billion palliatives it promised the union since 2018.

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News Hub Mag! recalls that the COEASU president, Nuhu Ogirima while addressing newsmen last week claimed that the federal government failed to release the outstanding N441 billion resulting from the received needs assessment of the federal colleges of education.

The COEASU president regretted that many correspondences sent to draw the attention of the federal government to attend to the demands of the Federal College of Education in the country had failed.

According to him, the development has left the union with no option than to begin a series of actions which will lead to full blown nationwide strike as soon as schools reopen.

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