From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
Academic and non-academic activities were on Thursday paralysed at the Kwara State College of Education (Technical), Lafiagi following a three days warning strike embarked upon by staff of the institution.
The workers under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of College of Education of Nigeria (SSUCOEN) and College of Education Academic Staff Union (COASU), called out workers to proceed on industrial action in protest over alleged plot by the retiring registrar of the college, Alhaji Mohammed Yakubu to ‘‘perpetrate himself in office’’.
It was gathered that Yakubu, whose tenure as registrar had expired on May 30, 2015 and subsequently due for retirement after attaining mandatory 35 years in service in July this year, had again returned as a contract registrar in the college against the edict establishing the college.
According to a copy of the edict obtained by our correspondent, Section 26, subsection (10) reads ‘‘(10) Six months before the expiration of the tenure of office of the Registrar, Bursar, Librarian or Director of Works, the Council shall by notice in the journal of the College and other mass media advertise the vacancy and shall make a new appointment before the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent officer’’.
In a statement jointly issued by the college’s SSUCOEN and COASU chairmen, Adebayo Bolaji Sikiru and Jimoh Yekeen, respectively, the unions alleged that the ‘‘strike was necessitated by the unlawful attempt of the registrar to perpetuate himself in office against the letters and content of the edict establishing the college ‘’.
According to the statement, ‘‘Alhaji yakubu gave a mere two-week notice of the end of his tenure of office in May 2015 as against 6 months specified in the college law and he was due for retirement after 35 years in service in July. An acting registrar,(Zainab was appointed from among the deputy registrars who occupied the position for the month of June. But Alhaji Yakubu in an unprecedented subterranean move came back to the office to continue as registrar in contract capacity.
‘‘Even though the college edict allows a contract appointment for the officer whose very technical service cannot be immediately substituted and for an already retired staff with grade lower than hitherto enjoyed while in service, all these features are completely absent in Alhaji Yakubu case.
The unions alleged further that ‘‘in the case of Yakubu, a replacement has been appropriately appointed as acting registrar” and that ‘‘Alhaji Yakubu still want to continue with all the right and privileges he enjoined as substantive registrar and not as deputy registrar as stated in the college edict.
They added that ‘‘up till this moment, Alhaji Yakubu is still in active service and he is as well claiming to have a contract appointment.
‘‘After exhausting all avenues for amicable resolution of the logjam, the union are compelled to embark on a 3-day warning strike in the first instance with a call for adherence of the edict of the college passed by the Kwara State House of Assembly and signed into law by the executive governor of Kwara state. Let every retiring staff proceed on retirement and due process be followed to fill vacant positions without bias’’.
When contacted through his mobile number on Thursday, Yakubu initially declined comment on the matter saying “since they have given their submission to you there is no need for me to say anything because it is me that they are fighting. Since it is me that they are fighting I don’t think I am in the best position to talk.”
When pressed further by our correspondent, he said it was the decision of the state government and that those who were not satisfied with the development should write the state government.
‘‘They are only challenging the state government for what it has done, if they are not satisfied they can write the state government to express their position,’’ Yakubu said.
Also efforts to speak with the Provost of the College, Alhasan Boni Ishaq, proved abortive as calls put though his telephone lines were not picked. Text message sent to his mobile phone line by our correspondent was also not replied.
From Victor Seyi, Ilorin