By Ahmed Hadnan
The Joint Academic Staff Unions in Tertiary Institutions (JASUTI) has described as a ‘lie’, claim by Kwara state Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq that the government pays 100% to workers in the state since inception of the administration.
In a statement jointly signed by Comrades Bilikis Olasinde, Musa Mahmud, Isah Alhaji Ibrahim and Engr. Gborigi Kotun who are Chairman, Secretary of JASUTI and
COEASU, chairman of COED, Oro and COE [T], Lafiagi, the lecturers at the State Colleges of Education lamented the ‘second class treatment meted on them by successive governments, including the present.
The statement titled “Re: Full Salary Payment a top priority despite revenue drop” reads in part;
“The attention of the Joint Academic Staff Unions in Tertiary Institutions (JASUTI) had been drawn to a communique issued at the end of a meeting of His Excellency- Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq- the Executive Governor of Kwara State with the Heads of the three State-owned Colleges of Education and the Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies, Ilorin by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye today Tuesday 19th July, 2022.
“JASUTI wishes to put the records straight for the general public to avoid being misled by the half-truth information contained in the said communique thus:
1. The current salary being taken by the staffers of the concerned four Colleges is the amputated 70% approved by His Excellency- Alhaji AbdulFatai Ahmed- the former Governor, which its implementation took immediate effect in August, 2011.
2. Part of our agitations for a change in that government was and still the non-implementation of 100% of the salary structure like our counterparts in other states of the federation enjoyed. Hence, our active participation in the processes that led to the dethronement of the then ruling party and the enthronement of the current administration.
3. It will interest the general public to know that the approved 70% translates to a minimum wage of *Seventeen Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty-eight Naira Only (#17,928)*. This figure is what an officer on CONTEDISD 1 Step 1 has been receiving from 2011 till date (Forget about the claims on news media that all workers have been paid the minimum wage of #30,000).
4. The practice of subventing our institutions which in turn augment their subvention from the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) to pay salaries which was introduced by His Excellency, Dr. AbdulFatai Ahmed- has been retained by the present administration. Therefore, the claim that the government pays our salaries 100% is a lie. Because of the augmentation policy, our school fees are too high for the common citizens who are majorly salary earners, artisans and petty traders. Even, the little increases to our subventions from this administration are not sufficient for the Colleges to pay salaries and also meet up with other financial obligations. (The practice in other neighbouring states is that governments pay salaries entirely and the institutions use the little amount generated for other excegencies, such as payment of annual increments, promotions and general upkeep and maintenance of facilities).
5. The second-class citizens’ treatment we are receiving from the government is dehumanizing to say the least. For instance, our salaries have never been paid along with the other workers in the state. It takes about two weeks before our salaries are paid after others might have received theirs. Festive periods are not spared of this ugly treatment.
6. The last time workers in the state had salary reviewed was the one done in 2011 as stated above. Our counterparts in the civil and public services have started enjoying the #30,000 minimum wage since January, 2022. Why were the workers in Tertiary Institutions left out of it. This has brought untold hardships on us as all of patronize the same markets, schools and hospitals.
6. We have declared the strike before the government invited us for negotiations. For clarification, the strike commenced on Monday 6th June, 2022, while negotiations started on Tuesday, 4th July, 2022. On that eventful day, all the parties agreed to speed up actions to allow the negotiations to be concluded in good time so that possibly when workers are resuming after Sallah break it will be possible to resume together. Unfortunately, the government side could not work with that plan. On our part, we expected that negotiations will resume after the festivity, but nay, the power that be are not willing to continue despite all persuations.
The Union emphasized that they are peace-loving Kwarans, who believe in AbdulRazaq’s leadership prowess and ability to resolve the crisis, noting that some individuals placed in vantage positions are working against the success of the administration and therefore called on the Governor to act fast.