Edo State government has laid off the entire staff of the state-owned College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi in Ovia North East local government area of the state.
The school was on August 2017 temporary closed by the Godwin Obaseki-led government with a promise to revamp it. The governor said the institution was shut down because it was not worthy of being a school of agriculture due to its poor standard. “I shut down the school to enable me invest money and bring it up to standard. I will revamp the school so that the graduates will be employable.”
He said he is in talks with Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc., Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) and PRESCO Plc., to join hands with his administration to revamp the school, help train students and provide them with employment. “I will provide allowance to the 261 students in the school and send them to farms for industrial training,” he promised.
The state government in a letter signed by the state commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, Monday Osaigbovo, and dated May 25, 2018, to all the staff announced the termination of their appointments.
The letter entitled, “Restructuring of the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi,” the commissioner said, following the restructuring of the college and subsequent closure, the government has decided to terminate their services with effect from January 31, 2018. “I am directed to refer to the above-mentioned subject and to inform you that following the restructuring of the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and its subsequent closure, government has decided that your services are no longer required with effect from 31st January 2018,’’ the letter read.
“You are requested to hand over all government properties in your possession to the permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources immediately. Furthermore, I am to add that in line with your terms of engagement, your cheque for January 2018, monthly salary with one month in lieu of notice is herewith attached”, it concluded.
The staff, while in a protest march to the palace of the Oba of Benin, insisted that their sack did not follow due process. They said more than four hundred staff that are in the nominal payroll of the institution including the provost were also affected.