Workers give two week ultimatum over indicted officers
• Government keeps mum on the issue
Workers at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Ijanikin, Lagos, under the auspices of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, (COEASU), and Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education in Nigeria (SSUCOEN), have charged the Governing Council to make appropriate pronouncement on the nine principal officers indicted for fund misappropriation.
Failure to do so two weeks after, which the countdown began Tuesday, they cautioned, will result in chaos at the institution.
The affected officers were allegedly involved in the mismanagement of over N1.5billion; embezzlement of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) allocations to the college; non-payment of retirees’ benefits as at when due; approving and releasing funds for projects not executed and those poorly executed. They were also accused of administering the College without regards to its enabling laws; movement of funds in and out of dedicated college’s account; non-remittance of third parties deductions, among others.
The offences, according to a source, “amount to gross misconduct under chapter 3, section C (1) of the College’s Conditions of Service and it is punishable by dismissal from service.” But the council in its wisdom recommended that the “affected officers should proceed on compulsory retirement, while some would refund the college certain amount of money accordingly.”
But long after the Council’s recommendations claimed to have been sent to the Governor and Proprietor of the College, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for approval, the union is bothered that no categorical pronouncement has been made on the accused officers. A development they described as deceitful and ploy to sweep the matter under the carpet.
When The Guardian contacted the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, on the issue, he said: “I have no information right now, I have nothing to say. At the right time, we will respond; for now, no comment.”
Expressing his grief on the issue, Chairman of COEASU, Comrade Michael Avosetinyen, said: “Honestly, we are surprised as a union that up till now, the Council is yet to make appropriate pronouncement on these officers. With the amount of evidences against them, the Council ought to have done the needful, instead of keeping us in abeyance as if nothing happened.
“We therefore demand that the Council makes appropriate decision on the indicted principal officers within two weeks, and also devise means of paying back our money because the pensioners need their money. If the two weeks elapsed and nothing happens, we will make the system ungovernable for them. The state government is already aware of all these issues. The Council is an autonomous body, so I see no reason why they are delaying their decision.”
Also, Chairman, SSUCOEN, Comrade Wunmi Ombugadu, who corroborated Avosetinyen’s views, informed that other indicted staff members who are not on the managerial cadre have since been sent on compulsory retirement, wondering why the Council is delaying to carry out the punishment on the indicted officers, as stipulated by the College’s regulation.
“Our worry is that the council has concluded its investigation and made its recommendations, but we heard some big wigs in the state are trying to upturn the Council’s recommendations and the union will not accept any form of corrupt practices”.
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