The Kogi state government has banned activities of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Trade Unions of Tertiary Institutions and all forms of unionism in the state-owned tertiary institutions.
In a statement signed on Wednesday by the state governor, Yahaha Bello, institutions affected are Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja; Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa; Kogi State College of Education Technical, Kabba; College of Nursing and Midwifery, Obangede; College of Health Sciences and Technology, Idah; and Kogi State University Teaching Hospital, Anyigba.
The government said it respects the rights of all citizens to responsibly associate and pursue their welfare within the ambits of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the laws of the state, the rights of other citizens and the general norms of a democratic society.
It added that it respects the rights of labour unions in relation to the responsibilities of the owners and proprietors of tertiary academic institutions.
It also said it has made tremendous progress in resolving all issues relating to adequacy and frequency of remuneration for all categories of civil servants in the state.
The state government, however, accused the unions in the state-owned tertiary institutions of impeding its efforts to carry out wholistic reforms of the civil service through their unjustified and unjustifiable industrial actions.
The branch of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Trade Unions of Tertiary Institutions Owned by Kogi state in Kogi state Polytechnic, Lokoja, has proceeded on yet another strike for alleged non-payment of salaries and emoluments irrespective of clear evidence of Government’s good faith and efforts contradicting JAC’s position.
The statement said, “Evidence of massive embezzlement of the Kogi State Polytechnic’s earnings in excess of N157m committed under JAC’s nose and government’s efforts to bring the fraudsters to justice have not persuaded JAC to work with government to resolve all extant issues bedevilling the institution’s cash flow,”.
The strike has grounded academic activities to a halt and thrown students out of their classrooms into an uncertain fate. This prompted the government to immediately ban all activities of the JAC of trade unions of tertiary institutions owned by Kogi State, as well as all forms of unionism in its tertiary institutions.
The government further directed the State Ministry of Education to liaise with the Boards and Managements of the various Institutions to consider all staff who do not resume normal academic duties immediately as having resigned from their employment.
The Ministry was also asked to take steps to immediately find and engage suitable replacements for all academic staff vacancies, including those who have left or deemed to have left the service of the Kogi state government because of the ban.