The Edo State government has said the protest by workers of the defunct Edo State College of Education Ekiadolor is politically motivated, noting that the protesters were sponsored by politicians hellbent on derailing development in the state.
Commissioner for Education, Jimoh Ijegbai, in a chat with journalists, denied the claims by the protesters, noting that not only have arrears owed by the previous administration been cleared but that the workers are being paid even while they were not working.
He traced the genesis of the agitation by the workers to the policies of former Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who had converted the college to Tayo Akpata University without a clear-cut direction on managing the interest of the workers.
According to him, “In 2016, the then Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole announced that the College of Education, Ekiadolor was being phased out and would then be Tayo Akpata University, Ekiadolor.
“Before then, Comrade Oshiomhole had put in a place a policy where the tertiary institutions were going to generate 35 percent of their salaries, while the government would contribute the remaining 65 percent. At the end of that administration, the government was owing them 6 months’ salary arrears.
“The workers were asked to move to the College of Education, Igueben, which they have failed, neglected or refused to comply with. As at today, they are not working anywhere. The Federal Government has established a Federal College of Education (Technical) at the site of the old College of Education, Ekiadolor, which is to take off in October.”
“Since the inception of this government, we have been consistent in giving the school the monthly subvention up till May 2020. In the last two weeks, government has released two months subvention to the workers to show good faith in spite of the fact that they were not working.
“We are surprised now about the protests, which the Edo State Government believes is politically motivated. They are sponsored by politicians hellbent on derailing development in the state. This government will not be blackmailed by any group whatsoever,” he added.