LIVE COVERAGE: Meeting on solving issues surrounding Tertiary Institutions' strike in Kogi State
Venue: Banquet Hall, Government House, Lokoja.
1:28PM His Excellency, Alh.Yahaya Bello's arrival
1:29PM National Anthem
1: 30PM A Minute silence for the SSA to the Governor, Raymond Ekundayo
1:31PM National Prayer
1:33PM Hon. Commissioner on Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Sunday Tolorunleke delivery an opening address on the need to meet and resolve issues sorrounding tertiary institution who are on strike in the state, while thanking Gov.Yahaya Bello for his time.
1:39PM Hon. Edward David Onoja, the Chief of Staff to the Governor delivers his address which contains the issues and resolutions as agreed upon by the State Government and JAC.
The Kogi State Government representatives have met with the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Trade Unions of Tertiary Institutions owned by the State Government, with a view of addressing their grievances in order for them to suspend their industrial actions and reopen the campuses for academic activities. This is imperative to ensure the future of our students are not jeopardized and to ensure a smooth industrial relations between government and the Trade Unions.
I wish to use this opportunity to applaud the altruistic patriotism towards a better Kogi State as epitomized by the ideologies of the present administration.
Let me bring to the knowledge of the general public, a blow by blow account of government discussions with Trade Unions in order to be fully informed of efforts by both parties to ensure industrial peace on our campuses for the good of our students and our society.
The demand of the Joint Action Committee of our Tertiary Institutions’ Trade Unions that the Kogi State Government should jettison its decision to forcefully retire there members based on the Review Committee’s nomenclature of ‘stagnation’ on one rank for 8 years and above. These categories of staff (Professors, Chief Lecturers, etc.) are the best brains within the system. Moreover, the Law on Retirement Age for the staff of Tertiary institutions is Sacrosanct.
Government is yet to accept this recommendation of the Review Committee hence, salaries of staff so categorized have continued to be paid till date. Furthermore, Government is aware of the position of the Laws and the provisions of the Conditions of Service of respective institutions as to retirement age. The issue will therefore be resolved.
That Lecturers who are currently on study leave abroad should be cleared and their salaries paid till date.
Lecturers currently on study leave abroad who have undergone provisional screening to confirm their status as recommended by their institutions would be cleared and allowed to access their salaries pending when they physically return to the country.
Government should clear and pay all our members labelled “diaspora workers”, since the status of those affected can be substantiated from their superior officers. It is worthy of note that, the cashless policy of Central Bank of Nigeria encourages cash withdrawal at the point of need rather than carrying cash around. Consequently, cash withdrawal points should not be used to define “diaspora worker”.
Innocent staff will not be unjustly classified as diaspora workers.
That government should give a definite date for the refund of excess tax deductions.
A joint committee of the Board of Internal Revenue and JAC will meet between the 1st and 16th of April, 2017 to substantiate the claim of excess tax deduction and advise Government accordingly.
That Government’s implementation of the new tax rate in Kogi State was done without consultation with JAC contrary to the 2016 Agreement on the issue.
Since the new rate has been implemented with respect to February salaries, Government shall suspend the implementation of the new tax rate for the month of March 2017 while the differential for the month of February 2017 will be refunded in March pending the resolution of all tax issues in April, 2017.
Issue and Resolution 6
It is hereby resolved that the following issues as it affects the institutions shall be and are hereby forwarded to the Governing Councils of the respective institutions for consideration and necessary action:
- Payment of Earned Allowances of Non-Teaching Staff.
- Payment of CONTISS 15 lower cadre migration and arrears.
- Payment of 50% CONTISS arrears.
- Payment of excess workload allowance for academic staff.
- Implementation and payment of promotion and annual incremental step and arrears.
- Review of edict/law establishing the Kogi State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Obagende and Kogi State College of Health Sciences and Technology, Idah.
- Implementation of Tertiary Institution Salary Structure for Kogi State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Obagende and Kogi State College of Health Sciences and Technology, Idah.
- Substantive NBTE accreditation of the various health training department courses offered in the college.
- Under-placement of Staff of Kogi State College of Education (Technical), Kabba.
- Use of Internally Generated Revenue in paying all promotions,
Incremental steps and arrears.
Kogi State University Teaching Hospital, Anyigba.
- Employment of more staff to meet the standard of a Teaching Hospital.
- Upgrading of salary scale to the Teaching Hospital standard.
- Constitution of Management Board for the Teaching hospital.
- Provision of Infrastructures and equipment.
Government has set up a Committee to look into all issues regarding this institution and report to back to it. The Committee is currently working. Parties shall await the report of the Committee.
Kogi State University, Anyigba
The Government is advised to audit the account of Kogi State University between 2009 and October 2015.
This has been commissioned already and it is ongoing.
Government should set up Governing Councils for all Tertiary institutions in Kogi State.
This was done in February, 2017.
Government should constitute and send a visitation panel to Kogi State University, Anyigba and other State owned tertiary institutions.
The Panel for Kogi State University was set up in February, 2017 while the same Panel will be commissioned to visit other Kogi State owned tertiary institutions.
2015 and 2016 Employment
With regards to 2015/2016 employment, Government’s circular No. HCS/KGS/CIR/3/V1516 dated 4/2/2016 has already suspended 2015 and 2016 employment. Government will however take a second look at these employments vis a vis a need assessment report from the Governing Council of each institution.
In the light of all the foregoing, it is hereby mutually agreed that Government and JAC shall work together with a view to moving the educational sector forward in line with the new direction agenda of Governor Yahaya Bello administration.
2:03PM Asiwaju Idris Asiru, Hon. Commissioner for Finance and Investment explains the financial transactions between Tertiary Institututions and the Kogi State Government.
Hon. Commissioner disclosed that the striking Tertiary Institution lecturers have received their salaries and subvention with only March in Outstanding.
Leakages in these instituions are expected to be partially blocked by the full implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) while the others left unblocked should be complemented by the schools in the way of reporting back to the State Government on issues causing leakages.
Summary of subventions to the tertiary institutions in the state.
1. College of Education Technical Kabba 453 Million Naira
2. College of Education Ankpa 1.7 Billion Naira
3. School of Health Technology, Idah 168 Million Naira
4. Specialist Hospital 968 Million Naira
5. School of Nursing and Midwifery,Obangede 103 Million Naira
6. KSP 1.9 Billion Naira
7. KSU 2.3 Billion Naira
8. KSUTH 309 Million Naira
9. EEA 200 Million Naira
10. KSU (Total) 2.8 Billion Naira
2:15PM His Excellency, Alh. Yahaya Bello opens the floor for suggestions and questions while disclosing that the problem should be solved today.
2:20PM The Pro Chancellor and Chairman Kogi State University Governing council is speaking.
The Chairman Kogi State University governing council is appealing to the Executive Governor to give the list of unlceared staff from KSU to the Council for further confirmation of their status, stating that the Governor can even give them a deadline to submit their report.
Also stating that the Governor makes sure every cleared staff be paid till date including the recently pardoned staff be paid till March.
The Pro Chancellor of KSU says some unions are against the screening even though most lecturers agree that there was no way the state could have continued without screening. Methodologies may differ, he added.
The screening has come to an end, but the ripples from it will continue to reverberate for a long. For the love you have for Education, we beg you to release the unclear list in tertiary institutions be given to the governing councils to ascertain their status because it is in the interest of the academia that the system works, says the Pro Chancellor.
There have been people employed as contract staff for "donkey" years yet not adding serious value. They are blocking opportunities for younger ones. - Pro Chancellor.
"On the issue of salaries, there are lecturers of federal universities who are being owed. Some are paid in percentages. Examples are ABU, FUTMINNA, Unibuja. However, Your Excellency, please, those who have just been cleared who actually benefited from your magnanimity because some of them committed criminal offenses. But please, kindly help expedite action so that your directive is carried out as per ensuring the cleared people receive their salaries by May ending." - Pro Chancellor.
"From the records I've seen, the past government promised to pay 25M in Earned Academic Allowance. They didn't pay a penny till they left. GYB came and started paying 50 million naira. Lecturers are supposed to reciprocate this gesture. Your Excellency has been magnanimous. The money for March salaries was held down because unions couldn't agree to resume when they eventually agreed, TSA was enforced. We need the money.
The Governing Council has the powers to enforce disciplinary actions against any lecturer who decides to keep holding students back.
Some of the issues the unions have raised are actually what can be resolved while students are in school."-Pro Chancellor.
"There is huge infrastructural deficit in the schools. We hope they will be taken care of.
On tax, many people in US and UK run to universities in Malaysia because of taxation.
In universities in other climes, when lecturers go on strike, they do not get paid for the period they are away. But GYB isn't doing so and we appreciate that. We should be able to meet halfway.
In 1986, when I joined the university community, after less than a year, I became the secretary of ASUU and for the next 10 years, became a unionist. I never imagined ASUU could become political. "- Pro Chancellor, KSU.
3:00PM "We met with ASUU of KSU, and they said once their members who have just been cleared are paid, they will go back to class. But we also made them to understand that by staying at home, they disempower us.
On Kogi State Polytechnic, please, we need the urgent support of the state government to improve the living conditions of students of the polytechnic as the status quo is deplorable." -Professor Sam Egwu, Chairman Governing Council, Kogi Poly.
3:05PM "It will be great if all councils take two issues back with them; IGR and blocking leakages. Whatever gets to the institutions must be judiciously spent.
Everyone here knows that the screening was imperative. I sent you a text "Bravo!" Because the level of rot in the state was such that any right thinking governor would make it a priority to weed off ghost workers and break the cabal in charge of ghost workers.
The JAC seems to be the barrier for Kogi Poly as they stated that they cannot act outside the Joint Council's Decision." -Dr. Atte
He advised the Governor to try and break the JAC to give room for each institution's decision making.
As he emphasises the need to put this behind us.
3:10PM "Your Excellency, change is a difficult thing yet the most permanent thing in life. We appreciate you for deciding to do the screening in your first term. It takes a lot of courage to do what you have done. You are a military leader in civilian garb. We support you because we identify with your vision for the state.
Accreditation issue is facing the College of Nursing and Midwifery and we need some facilities to gain accreditation for the College.
We thank you, Your Excellency, on behalf of the Governing Council, for the constructions ongoing in the College.
As a mother, I urge us all to find a solution to the issues on ground so our students can go back to school." - Chairman, Governing Council, College of Nursing and Midwifery, Obangede.
3:19PM His Excellency is to wrap up the meeting with his final words.
"First of all, all the tertiary institutions here present, how much of your IGR have you declared to the state or even the management of the institutions? GYB
Some of the issues we have now have been on ground since 2009. Where were unions since then?
On issue of unclear list, we already resolved that we will give to Councils to review and revert.
I approved subventions up till March. (Explanations were given by the Bursar of KSU that the AG paid but network challenges reverted credit). I don't know why little assignments are not carried out.
I have put April subvention on hold because the state will not continue to pay for work not done.
As for TSA, it stays. We want to know what the schools generate so we can monitor them. We shall not spend your money. We are only asking that all receipts be made into a central pool.
It is for accountability sake.
On the issue of infrastructure decay and deficit, I have always said that I am here to serve and will not play politics with lives. So as we tackle financial rot, we shall also tackle the infrastructural rot.
In a negotiation, you do not stick to your guns. We have shifted grounds many times because we want Kogi State to be better. I want the whole public to know we have done our best within the limits of resources at our disposal. We expect that lecturers also make concessions for the sake of our children.
We have until Monday next week to ensure all these issues are taken care of and our students resume.
March subventions will get to the schools before then. After which, we should be able to resume school by 15th.
Our children have stayed at home for too long. If they refuse to resume by 15th, government will be forced to take drastic actions so that students will continue their education as their lives cannot be put on hold forever.
Students take to the streets because they perceive government is the problem. Infrastructure is decayed, yet schools continue to generate funds.
"I plead with councils here to work between tomorrow and Friday to ensure these issues are put behind us for the long term.
We will do our part and I expect every individual to do their bit so we can move our state forward.
I appeal to students. I was once like you and my education helped to get me where I am today. I have your best interests at heart. I know how it feels to be out of school for this long. Our state, mine and yours, was held down for too long. We must clear the rot but in doing so we must step on toes and we do not expect the people affected not to fight back. Give us the benefit of the doubt. Kogi State shall be great for us all. We are doing all we can to ensure you go back to school by the week of May 15th. Please, continue to be law abiding."- Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello
3:43PM Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs) Folashade Arike Ayoade delivers a brief vote of thanks as the meeting comes to an end.
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