Hundreds of undergraduate and post-graduate students of the Akwa Ibom State College of Education ( CoE), Afaha Nsit in Nsit Ibom local government area of Akwa Ibom State were stranded yesterday as leaders of the school’s chapter of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COAESU) commenced a total strike in the institution.
Our correspondent gathered that the leaders had hectic time enforcing the strike, as some pro- management members of the union had put up some measures of resistance over the action, which is in line with the ongoing national strike by COASU, “to impress it on the federal government (FG) for more funding and development of teaching and learning infrastructure in CoEs in Nigeria.”
Speaking in an interview yesterday, the institution’s chairman of COASU, Godwin Akpan, said the decision to enforce the strike became necessary in order not to be left out in the plan by FG to dole out N1billion development funds to all colleges of education in the county.
Appealing to the management and other aggrieved members to cooperate in the strike enforcement regime, Akpan explained that the school had been benefiting from the FG’s hand-outs through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) projects and other interventionist programmes.
Besides, he pointed at the expected N1 billion education grants for Colleges of Education across the country, explaining that “if we don’t participate in the strike, the national body will blacklist our school, and we don’t want to be blacklisted.”
Meanwhile, academic activities have been totally grounded as many students, who resumed for studies yesterday were turned back at the main gate to the institution by the picketing officials of COASU.
“We are surprised that without any prior information that we could just wake up this morning, hoping for lectures and other academic activities but what we are seeing here is that COASU has called out its members on strike.
“What really is happening in Nigeria because yesterday, it was ASUU and universities’ students; today, it’s the turn of COAESU and Colleges of Education students?”, Akan Umoren, a post-graduate student of the school lamented.
He, therefore, urged the federal government to address the grievances of the protesting universities and Colleges of Education teachers as “students could become the unwilling tools in the hands of politicians to foment electoral violence due to idleness.”