The Osun and Oyo state governments have appealed for calm over the prolonged closure of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH.
In a statement on Thursday jointly signed by Governors Abiola Ajimobi and Rauf Aregbesola of Oyo and Osun states respectively, the state governments implored students, parents and guardians to resist the temptation to resort to self-help over the crisis in the university jointly owned by the two states.
The governments also warned that as they await the report of the visitation panel they set up last year to look into the finances of the university, all involved parties in the institution should refrain from taking any action that may disrupt law and order.
The governments were however silent on when the school will reopen.
Their appeal was against the backdrop of a plan by students and labour unions in the states to hold a protest on January 9 over the prolonged closure of the university and speculations that tuition fee would be raised.
Spokespersons for the two governors had however stated that there was no plan to increase the fee.
On June 9, 2016, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Non-Academic Staff Union, and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities in the university had declared a strike to protest the crisis arising from lack of funds to run the institution and pay workers.
The strike led to the university being shut down, just before the students were scheduled to begin their second semester examinations.
But in their statement, Thursday, the state governments said they regretted the prolonged closure of the institution, adding that it was not for lack of will on their part but due to the financial challenges facing the states.
“The prolonged closure of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, is deeply regretted. Academic activities have been put to a halt as a result of the industrial action embarked upon by the
academic and non-academic staff of the university.
“This is consequent upon the challenges faced by the owner states in fulfilling full salary obligations to categories of workers in the institution.
“This is not due to lack of will on our part but the dire financial headwinds in the country, affecting all tiers of government, putting strain in paying salaries of workers in the two states, including the university,” the governments stated.
The governments reaffirmed their commitment to the joint ownership arrangement, including joint funding of the university.
They also appealed to stakeholders in the institution to await the result of the Wole Olanipekun-led visitation panel.
“It is important to state that the State Governments of Oyo and Osun have reaffirmed their commitment to the joint ownership of the institution, including its continued funding and comprehensive review of its finances,” the statement said.
“It was in this regard that a Visitation Panel headed by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, was set up in October last year. While waiting for the report of that panel, we want to appeal to students, parents and guardians to resist the temptation to resort to self-help and or any action that might precipitate disruption of law and order.
“With the steps already taken by the two owner governments, we are confident that the unfortunate situation in the institution will soon be resolved.”