Apparently cheesed off by the activities of unions over non-payment of salaries, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has banned activities of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of trade unions and all forms of unionism in the state-owned tertiary institutions.
The governor, while announcing the ban in a broadcast in Lokoja on Wednesday, accused trade unionism in tertiary institutions of impeding government holistic reforms.
The 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 state government is accusing 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.
“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 statement said.
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.
In the same vein, law enforcement and security agencies in the state were also directed to remain vigilant as usual and be proactive in preventing the breakdown of law and order in any part of the state.