The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, has said some of the striking workers it sacked recently were disengaged for stealing the university’s property.
The institution’s spokesperson, Emi Alawode, said some others were found guilty of insubordination and wilful disobedience to lawful instructions.
Other reasons given by the university’s management for the sack of the workers were “absconding from assigned duty posts, sabotage and other forms of gross misconduct, prejudicial to good governance and peace of the university.”
Ms. Alawode said the management took the decision to dismiss the workers at its 90th Statutory Meeting on November 10, “in line with the resolve of the Governing Council to fulfil its statutory roles of ensuring the stability of the University.”
The sack of the workers came during a crisis that started after three members of the local branch of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, alleging corruption against the management of the school.
The university’s management had reacted by suspending the three signatories to the petition, Lasun Somoye, Abdulsalaam Sobbir and Bombo Bankole.
Their suspension ignited a strike by the non-teaching staff of the university that has continued since August.
The affected workers have, however, disputed the reasons cited by the university for their sack.
“It is a cooked up reaction to the allegations levelled against them,” Messrs. Somoye, Sobbir and Bankole, said in a joint statement.
“Imagine someone who was accused of stealing, now alleging that another person stole.
“The allegations are cooked up, unreal and just part of the attempts to wickedly cover up the tracks of the Vice-Chancellor and Council over the allegations of fraud levelled against them.”
The trio said they and the other sacked workers were not queried by the management before their dismissal.
Meanwhile, the university has also warned the other members of the non-teaching staff to return to work or face sanctions.
A memo signed by the school’s registrar, Mathew Ayoola, said any of the workers who failed to report to work on Monday, November 14 would be sanctioned.
“The Governing Council at its meeting of Thursday, November 10, 2016 considered the report of recent events and happenings on campus. Council noted in particular the lingering absence of some non-teaching members of staff from duty without due process,” the memo stated.
“Council expressed its displeasure at the development and directed that such absentee staff be advised in their own interest to resume work latest on Monday, November 14, 2016, failing which Management should take whatever measure it deems necessary within the Rules and Regulations of the University to handle the matter and restore normalcy and discipline on campus.
“Consequent on the above, Management hereby directs all non-teaching staff to be at their duty posts immediately. Any non-teaching staff not available at his or her duty posts as from Monday, November 14, 2016 and not officially on leave will be sanctioned accordingly,” the memo stated.
But in a prompt response, the national body of SSANU in a letter dated November 9 and signed by its National President, Samson Ugwoke, directed the union members to continue with the strike.
“In view of the uncooperative attitude of the vice-chancellor and management of FUNAAB over the ongoing industrial action in your branch, as evident in the reported cases of mass suspension and termination of appointments, NAC at its meeting today, November 9, 2016 has directed that you continue with the strike warning till further notice,” the letter stated.
‘Please ensure strict compliance with this directive until you receive further directive from NAC.”