Students of Kwara State College of Education have clashed with police yesterday while protesting the non-payment of their lecturers.
The students began the protest when they came to school to take their second semester examinations only to find the classrooms empty because lecturers had deserted the school due to non-payment of their salary.
The students staged a peaceful protest against the disruption of their second semester examination by the staff of institution.
The staff hinged their grievances on the failure of the state government to pay their four month salaries.
The placard-carrying students started the protest from their campus around Sawmill area through the popular Ibrahim Taiwo road and were heading for the Government House along Ahmadu Bello way.
On getting to Challenge area, policemen men allegedly shot teargas canisters into the air to disperse the protesting students. Many of whom scampered for safety, it was gathered.
Speaking on behalf of the students union Ajamiu Mathew said that “we discovered this morning that they were going on strike. As union leaders we have to make some of our consultations, so that we can be able to confront them.”
Matthew blamed the state government for not meeting the needs of the institution, urging the state government to fund the school adequately.
Said he: “We are ready to collaborate to make sure we resume back, but what we are just trying to do is to negotiate with the provost, go out and meet the state government so that this will not last long.
“Let me just be sincere with you I’m a final year student i was delayed in my year one, year two, even I can tell you vividly when I resumed in year three as newly elected executive, we led a protest like this because our lecturers refused to make things available for us, this is going to affect our younger ones if we refuse to help them before leaving the seat.”
Justifying the workers decision, Kwara state College of Education Staff Union (COESU) Chairman Balikis O Ajoke said the exam would be boycotted until the state government responds to their needs.
She added that: “What happens is that we have not been paid our salaries, last year we were owned two month salaries, and the government promised that when they collected all the money from the Federal government they were going to pay us, we waited we were on strike before coming on board of this new provost.
“We suspended the strike in honour of the new provost, even it looks like betrayal. We have not been paid June, July and this is August, promises upon promises. We have written series of letters, we have had series of meetings but promises and promises to no avail.
“We felt this is the high time we showed our grievances so that they will hear us, to also let Kwarans know what is happening in Kwara State college of Education Ilorin, we are being owned four and half months, we are not going on strike we are boycotting the exam we are coming tomorrow but we are not going to conduct the exam, we are boycotting the exam totally.
Reacting, the Kwara state government said it has released the sum of N125million as June 2018 subvention to all the state-owned tertiary institutions.
In swift reaction, the state Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Mr Abdullahi Alkinla said that the State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed had approved the release of the funds since last week Wednesday.
He said that immediately the approval was given, the state Ministry of Finance swung into action to ensure that the institutions get the money before Friday last week.
He, however, explained that the banks could not process the payment of the money until yesterday morning, adding that the funds had dropped into the accounts of the institutions.
Alkinla further said that the Provost of the College of Education, Ilorin, Dr. Yusuf Abdulraheem had early this morning confirmed to him the receipt of the institution’s share of the money.
The commissioner therefore described the students protest as unnecessary as government had made good its pledge to make the money available.
Source: The Nation