The Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN) has rejected the recent appointment of principal officers for six newly established colleges.

The worker’s union said due process was not followed in the appointments, demanding an immediate redress.

SSUCOEN made the demand in a letter dated April 13, signed by its President, Danladi Msheliza, and directed to the Minister of Education.

A copy of the letter was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday.

The federal government last May approved the establishment of six new federal colleges of education, one in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

The new institutions are located at Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Osun, Sokoto, and Edo States.

About two weeks ago, the Ministry of Education announced the appointment of Provosts and other Principal Officers for the six new Federal Colleges of Education in a statement released by Ben Bem Goong, the spokesperson of the ministry.

But in its letter, the union described the appointments as “illegal and usurpation of the power” of the existing governing councils of the institutions.

Mr Msheliza said of the six institutions, the union only gave a nod to the appointment of the provost for the college of education in Edo State.

While acknowledging that only the President (Muhammadu Buhari) has the powers to appoint provosts upon recommendations of the council, the union said it has a duty to point out infractions and draw the attention of government and other relevant authorities to ensure that due process is followed while considering such appointments.

The letter noted that the appointment of principal officers is the prerogative of the council.

“Governing Councils for the new Colleges of Education have been constituted, and it is the Governing Council that have the powers to appoint Principal Officers, as provided for in the Act establishing Federal Colleges of Education and other relevant extant rules and guiding documents”, the letter read in part.

“One could not help but wonder why the FME rushed to appoint Principal Officers for the six (6) newly established Federal Colleges of Education, without recourse to the requirements for the appointment of such important positions, especially that Councils were on ground. Had Council not been constituted, it would have been well understood.

“Appointment of Principal Officers of any College of Education, by any other person or group, other than its Governing Council, amounts to illegality & usurpation of the powers of Council. The Act establishing Federal Colleges of Education expressly states that “the Council of each College of Education shall appoint a Registrar, Bursar, Librarian to such College.”

The union urged President Buhari and the Education minister, Mr Adamu, to immediately set aside the appointments of the other provosts and principal officers in the interest of industrial harmony and the avoidance of court injunctions.

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“Doing otherwise will amount to setting bad precedence, abuse of subsisting court judgement and serve as a disservice to Nigeria and the College of Education sector in particular,” it said.

Meeting requirements for appointment

SSUCOEN, an affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), also argued that majority of the appointees do not meet the requirements for the appointment.

According to the letter, principal officers in Colleges of Education must have a background from the education sub-sector as provided for in the approved Schemes and Conditions of Service (2015 Edition) for Colleges of Education in Nigeria.

“Most of the appointees are either from the Core Civil Service, Private Sector or other sectors outside Colleges of Education System, which is contrary to the provisions for the requirements for the appointment of Principal Officers in Colleges of Education, as contained in the Revised Conditions of Service for Colleges of Education (2015 Edition), and the Act establishing Federal Colleges of Education,” the union explained.

The appointments were mostly based on political considerations, without due and diligent considerations to extant rules, said Mr Msheliza, noting that such will create a bad precedence in the newly established institutions.

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