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Joint Union of Plateau State Owned Tertiary Institutions (JUPTI) frowns at the Politicization of Removal of Heads of Institutions, Cancellation of Recruitment Amidst Treats of Industrial Disharmony

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The Joint Union of Plateau State Owned Tertiary Institutions (JUPTI) has condemned in strong terms what it terms “Politicization of Removal of Chief Executives Officers of Some State’s Owned Tertiary Institutions and Cancellation of Recruitment”.

In a press conference held at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Center, Jos the union through her Chairman, Comrade Sunoe Peter Longbaam frowned at government’s action that “is in total disregard to the Edicts and Laws guiding the operation of the institutions”. The union warns of the consequences of the actions of government if government doesn’t retrace her steps.

Read the full text of the press conference below:

TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE PRESENTED BY COMR. SUNOE PETER LONGBAAM CHAIRMAN, JOINT UNION OF PLATEAU STATE OWNED TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS (JUPTI) ON THE POLITICIZATION OF REMOVAL AND APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS AND CANCELLATION OF RECRUITMENT DONE IN OCTOBER, 2022 ON TUESDAY 13TH FEBRUARY 2024 AT THE NIGERIAN UNION OF JOURNALIST (NUJ) PRESS CENTRE, JOS.

Gentlemen of the Press,

My fellow Comrades,

The Joint Union of Plateau State Owned Tertiary Institutions (JUPTI) wishes to use this medium first and foremost to congratulate His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang for his triumphant victory at the Apex Court. We join all other citizens of the State to congratulate him and the Government, even though the Union have earlier done that through the Head of Service. It is our hope that with the distraction that accompany legal tussles now put to rest, expecting good governance shall take the centre stage.

His Excellency, Barr Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, Executive Governor, Plateau State

We also commiserate with government and peace loving people of Plateau State over the recent attacks that lead to the destructions of lives and properties, the Unions join in condemning the dastardly act. We also wish to commend the efforts of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang for the release of accreditation funds for some tertiary institutions. The Union also thank His Excellency for organizing a Retreat/Workshop in consultation with Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in December, 2023 which acquainted the Union and Government officials on how to relate and maintain industrial harmony. This kind gesture was the first of its kind since the inception of the state. The Union wish to request for domestication of Polytechnic Act 2019, implementation of N35,000 Wage Award and constitution of governing council. We hope for the best in our Tertiary Institutions with the mantra of “THE TIME IS NOW” and “THE LAND IS GREEN”.

Meanwhile, you would recall that the Chief Executives of State Own Tertiary Institutions were relieved of their appointments and the recruitment carried out in October, 2022 was also cancelled and new Heads of Tertiary Institutions were equally appointed on temporal basis just a day after and without due regards to Edit establishing those institutions.

The Joint Union observed with concern the politicization of removal and appointment of Chief Executives of Tertiary Institutions and outright cancellation of employment carried out in October, 2022. It is in the light of the above that we are compelled today to call for this press conference to address, inform and educate you on the danger and negative precedents the action of government will create in the nearest future.

Gentlemen of the press, we are constrained to again mention the issues which we believe that our position as a Union will be well informed

Removal and Appointment of Chief Executive of Tertiary Institutions: The position of the Chief Executives of these Intuitions; Plateau State University, Bokkos, Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi, College of Education, Gindiri, College of Health Technology Pankshin and College of Health Technology, Zawan were advertised, interview was conducted and they were found appointable. Their appointments were in accordance with the Edicts and Laws that established these Institutions. We wonder which criteria were used to remove the Heads of the tertiary institutions? The removal of these officers was not in line with the extant laws governing the institutions. With this development the union is shocked with the development especially knowing fully well that, not long our dear government is a beneficiary of law and justice.

We are afraid, these act might be counter productive with gross and unimaginable consequence in the accreditation of our academic programs. As if the damage done with the removals was not enough, again without minding the position of the Edit, we were again confronted with what the government term ” Temporary appointment” even where exists Deputy and which by law should rightly be given such position. We asked again gentlemen of the press, how can we have Temporary heads of tertiaries institutions where there exists deputy(s)? This is in total disregard to the Laws guiding the operation of these institutions. This is a serious setback in our quest for a better Educational system in the state. We are really worried about the future of our tertiary Education, this same government set up visitation panels to these institutions, where are the reports?

1. This is very unfortunate and the Unions totally found this condemnable. We demand that Government should re-visit its action for the sake of industrial harmony.

2. Cancellation of Employment done in October, 2022: The issue of employment was a product of agreement reached with Government leading to the recruitment of staff in October, 2022. This was to bridge the gap in manpower of the tertiary Institutions, but in June, 2023 the newly employed staff were suspended by the Government and we acknowledge the intention of Government to verify and review the entire process and a committee was eventually constituted to review the process and we equally applauded the effort of the Government to sanitize the recruitment exercise. The report of the committee was released and immediately another committee was again constituted to look into the report and Government white paper was publicly released for implementation. The white paper report was very explicit which did not cancel the employment done in tertiary institutions rather recommended that Governing Council be constituted with the view to implement the white paper report but was delayed for some reasons not known until the outright cancellation. This action will definitely constitute a setback in our tertiary institutions. It is sad that it is the educational sector that Government chose to politicize when we expect pro-activeness in the educational sector.

This action is painful and should be noted that any Government toying with education is destroying the future generation. The Union believe that Government is aware that this recruitment was timely and long overdue and some little procedural lapses should not be used to unjustly destroy the system. The Union wish to encourage that anything worth doing well should be done for a permanent solution and not temporal. Government should note that these institutions have already suffered negligence in the past for too long and not again this time. Our staff have been overwhelmed with overstressed schedules of duty.

We wish to request that Government should have a rethink and isolate candidates with questionable issues and reinstate the staff who are qualified and especially those cleared by successive committees in the interest of industrial harmony.

In conclusion, gentlemen of the press, we are appealing to the members of the public and well-meaning Plateau people, to please intervene for this newly employed staff to be reinstated for the benefit of the students, the system and the progress of our dear State.

Thank you and God bless

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