President of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union COEASU, Comrade Nuhu Ogirima, has disclosed that the Federal Government eventually called the academic body for a meeting to discuss the various issues for which the union has been threatening to embark on industrial action.
Ogirima, who has been championing the cause for better funding for colleges of education in the country and improved welfare for the staff, said the meeting, which held on Monday, 16th November, 2020, was a step forward.
He siad, “The Federal Government has started paying the salary shortfall to the Federal Colleges of Education, as being done to other MDAs. The procedure is that submissions made by the colleges would have to go through the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing, PICA. PICA will check and verify. After PICA’s verification, the Office of the Accountant General will pay. As a matter of fact, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has commenced payment of some of the verified outstanding arrears of promotion and shortfall to Federal Colleges of Education.
“On the Visitation Panel, constitution of Governing Councils, release of funds for Needs Assessment and others, we are awaiting government’s written response to that effect for transmission to NEC. That was what they resolved at the meeting.”
He further revealed that a meeting of the union’s NEC would be convened from December 9 to 12, where details of the deliberations with the Federal Government’s delegation will be conveyed to the members.
According to him, the Federal Government’s team that met with COEASU was made up of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, the Permanent Secretary and top directors of the Federal Ministry of Education.
On the issue of the Colleges of Education Amendment Bill, the union leader expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far, stating that “our bill, that is the Colleges of Education Establishment Amendment Bill, before the National Assembly has been taken at its first reading on the floor of the Senate. But for the ongoing budget defence process at the National Assembly, the second reading would have been done by now. So, I can tell you that the bill is progressing.
“Recall that the Bill was passed by the 8th National Assembly in 2018, but for undisclosed reasons, it was not sent to Mr. President for assent.”