Kogi East Elders Council has frowned at the lingering crises between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Kogi State University Chapter and the state government leading to the termination of the appointment of 135 academic staff.
Consequently, the Council wants the Government to review the action by granting an unconditional pardon to the affected staff to create conducive environment for teaching, learning and research.
A communiqué issued at the end of the Council’s emergency meeting in Abuja signed by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, Senator Ahmadu Ali and Chief Gabriel Aduku described the termination as unhealthy and inimical to the progress and orderly development of the Institution.
The communiqué noted that the proscription of the University Chapter of ASUU was hasty as it would aggravate than solve the labour crises and advised the government to rescind its decision.
It expressed fears that unless urgent steps are taken, the University stands to risk of losing the accreditation of many of its current academic programmes as well as the positions of the FIRST among State Universities and SEVENTH overall during the 2011 Institutional Accreditation conducted by the National University Commission (NUC).
The communiqué also expressed worry over security challenges plaguing the entire state as well as the tortuous staff screening exercise over salaries owed workers running to over one year inspite of several bailout funds received by Kogi State.
The Council therefore called on the Federal Government to prevail on the Kogi State Government to tow the path of industrial peace and harmony to enhance delivery of good governance in the State.
However, the Kogi State Government, in its response lauded the Elders’ Council position but said the Government was forced to do what it did “in order to bring much needed succor to the Institution.”
Here under is the full text of the communiqué of the Kogi East Elders’ Council and the response from the Kogi State Government.
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY KOGI EAST ELDERS’ COUNCIL (KEEC) AFTER AN EMERGENCY MEETING ON THE CRISIS BEDEVELLING KOGI STATE
The Kogi East Elders’ Council (KEEC) as the apex socio-political and cultural group in Kogi East Senatorial District made up of nine Local Government Areas had an emergency meeting on 29th September 2017 and issued the following communiqué:
1. The KEEC frowns at the lingering crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kogi State University chapter and the Government of kogi state
2. The Council believes that the termination of the appointment of 135 academic staff of the university is unhealthy and inimical to progress and orderly development of the institution.
3. The Council requests that the Kogi State Government review this action by granting an unconditional pardon to the affected staff as a demonstration of magnanimity in order to create conducive environment for teaching, learning and research.
4. Council is of the opinion that the proscription of the Kogi State University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was hasty as it would rather aggravate than solve the labor crisis and advises the Government to rescind its decision.
5. Council expressed its fears that unless steps are urgently taken, the Kogi State University, Anyigba stands the risk of losing accreditation of many of its current academic programmes as well as the positions of the FIRST among State Universities and SEVENTH overall during the 2011 Institutional Accreditation conducted by the National Universities Commission.
6. Council calls for a speedy conclusion of the tortuous staff screening exercise that appears to be the longest in the history of this country. Consequently, many civil servants are owed salaries of one year and one year plus in spite of several bailout funds received by Kogi State.
7. The Kogi East Elders Council is dissatisfied with the current state administration’s handling of the security challenges plaguing the entire state. Political thuggery appears to be on the rise tacitly and implicitly orchestrated by the style of administration.
8. The KEEC call on the Federal and State Government to look into the current indefinite strike action embarked upon by the Nigeria Labor Congress Kogi State Chapter.
9. Finally, Council calls on the APC-led Federal Government to prevail on the Kogi State Government to tow the path of industrial peace and harmony to enhance delivery of good governance in Kogi State.
DATED IN ABUJA THIS 29TH DAY OF SEPTEMER, 2017.
SEN.DR AA ALI, fss; CON,GCON CHIEF ARC. GY ADUKU, OON
OCHADATA’GALA AMANA OGOHI ATTAH
CHAIRMAN DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
MR. ALPHONSUS K. AIHASSAN
RE: COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY KOGI EAST ELDERS’ COUNCIL (KEEC) AFTER AN EMERGENCY MEETING ON THE CRISES BEDEVILING KOGI STATE.
I have been directed by His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the 4th Executive Governor of Kogi State to acknowledge receipt of your above communiqué dated the 29th day of September, 2017 and to thank the Kogi East Elders Forum (KEEF) on behalf of the Kogi State Government for the timely show of concern for our dear state and her people.
I am to inform you that Government has taken an honest look at all the points raised in the communiqué, and wishes to respond as follows:-
1. That an industrial crisis did indeed engulf the Kogi State University (KSU), Anyigba which saw ASUU members refuse to teach for 7 months while Government remained obligated to pay, and did pay, them salaries for the duration.
2. That the plight of the stranded students of KSU degenerated to a point at which Government was ultimately forced to proscribe activities of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in KSU in order to bring much needed succour to the Institution.
3. That academic staff of KSU who failed to resume normal duties after the proscription came into effect were disengaged by Government and the process of replacing them with other qualified persons is almost concluded.
4. That Government assures KEEF and all Kogites that KSU can only come out of this process stronger and better positioned to retain her primacy among functional tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
5. That Government did indeed venture into a routine Staff Screening and Verification Exercise upon assumption of Office only to have it turn into what became perhaps the most difficult of such exercises any Administration has ever been confronted with anywhere in Nigeria due to the deeply embedded corruption which blighted the Kogi State Civil Service.
6. That Government was shocked to discover the bottomless depths of wickedness perpetrated by politically exposed persons and senior civil servants against the common patrimony of alt Kogites through the Kogi State Civil Service, and mainly through the twin scourges of ghost-workers and unintended beneficiaries.
7. That the Staff Screening and Verification Exercise has since ended, inevitable human errors are being rectified as they are Found, Government has being paying salaries while the process of reintegration for staff found to have broken the Public Service. Rules hut pardoned by Government on compassionate grounds is ongoing.
8. That Government has always carried Organized Labour along in all her reforms, and remains open to dialogue over the current partial industrial action in the state.
9. That Government however insists that certain technologies designed to eliminate systemic fraud in Civil Services and which have become international best practices, particularly those deployed to monitor productivity and manage efficient payrolls, remain inevitable.
Government wishes that KEEF had afforded her fair hearing before publication of her communiqué, however she invites KEEF for to a meeting with the Governor and key officials of the Administration, at KEEFs earliest convenience in Government House.
At the meeting, we hope to take your concerns relating to government policies, programs, the general state of the polity, the states incomes, including the Paris Club refund and Bailout Funds as well as any other matter and address them truthfully, with documentary and other evidence where possible.
His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, further directs me to give KEEF the assurances of his high regards always.
Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kogi State.