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Striking college workers threaten mass demonstration

03 February 2014, 18:28

Abuja - The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) on Sunday threatened to embark on a mass demonstration very soon if the Federal Government fails to meet its demands.

The National President of the union, Dr Emmanuel Asagha, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that government’s immediate response would determine the end of its ongoing strike.

He said the date for the demonstration would be decided by the union’s National Executive Committee (NEC) this week if government failed to listen to the union’s demands.

"Our NEC has met and we have decided that if the government fails to meet our demands, we will organise our members nationwide for a mass demonstration.

"From there we will explore other peaceful options too, because we are a mature union that has waited patiently for government’s response.

"The strike still remains indefinite. That is our position for now," Asagha said.

He told NAN that members of the union were on strike over peculiar allowances for lecturers, decay in infrastructure and funding of out-sourced services, among others.

The COEASU national president said the union had observed that the Federal Government was constituting the Presidential NEEDS Assessment Committee for Colleges.

He pointed out that the constitution of the committee was however only one of the demands of the union.

Asagha also accused the Federal Government of bias in implementing the migration to the lower cadre by only approving it for the polytechnics.

"As I speak to you now, the migration to lower cadre has been approved for implementation in the polytechnics, but not in the Colleges of Education.

"There is no rationale for that, because we are both on the same structure and cadre with the polytechnics. So, we expect the same gesture to be extended to us.

"It seems little attention is being given to us because the Colleges of Education are mostly patronised by the children of those in the society’s lower class,” he said.

-  NAN

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