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COEASU denounces involvement in Job racketeering amidst federal investigation

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The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has firmly distanced itself from the alleged job racketeering currently under investigation in tertiary institutions by the Federal House of Representatives

The union’s President, Smart Olugbeko, emphasised this stance during a two-day workshop held in Abuja.

The workshop, titled ‘Leadership Skills Development for Effective Industrial Relations in the College of Education System,’ was co-organized by COEASU and the committee of provosts in Nigeria.

Its primary aim was to equip union members with the skills needed to address industrial concerns and promote campus peace.

Olugbeko asserted that “COEASU has consistently opposed and confronted the impunity of job racketeering.”

He pointed out that “this issue becomes prominent with the implementation of the federal gvernment’s Integrated Personnel Payroll Information and System (IPPIS) in 2020.

Under IPPIS, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation granted waivers for “secret” staff recruitment.

The COEASU president expressed concern over the interference in employment processes within their institutions, noting that even when staff or lecturers left the system, the provosts were unable to replace them without seeking approval from the Head of Service.

Delays and uncertainty surrounded these applications, often lasting one to two years without a response.

Olugbeko also highlighted that even when permission was eventually granted, it came with a waiver prohibiting job advertisements. COEASU vehemently opposed this practice, but the forces advocating for it remained formidable.

Emphasising the critical role of teacher education in Nigeria’s educational system, Olugbeko urged the new Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, to prioritise and invest more in this area.

He stressed that without well-funded teacher education institutions, the country would struggle to produce high-quality teachers, ultimately impacting the quality of education.

Olugbeko’s address concluded by underlining the primary responsibility of the minister of education in ensuring effective teaching and learning in Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Paulinus Chijioke Okwelle, reiterated the commission’s commitment to creating a conducive atmosphere for teachers in the country.

He noted that due processes were followed in the replacement of staff in colleges under his purview.

Uchenna Uba, representing the minister of education, acknowledged the union’s concerns and stated that the ministry was actively working towards addressing them.

He stressed the importance of developing leadership skills to foster effective industrial relations within the colleges of education system.

As COEASU and government authorities engage in discussions, the education sector in Nigeria awaits potential reforms and changes that could significantly impact the future of teacher education and college operations.

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