The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, has refuted claims by the Oyo and Osun State governments that they released N13.63 billion to the university in the last six years.
The union, which had been protesting the non-payment of salaries and allowances to its members for several months, also denied the accusation by the owner states that the unions were preventing the audit firm, KPMG, from carrying out the audit of the university’s accounts.
A statement signed by ASUU chairman, Biodun Olaniran, and Secretary, Toyin Abegunrin, said there was a deliberate misinformation by the Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Niyi Olowofela, on the financial status of the institution.
“Our Union, ASUU, is aware of the persistent claim by the Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Prof. ‘Niyi Olowofela, on the operation of alleged 97 bank accounts by the LAUTECH and the release of N13.63 billion by the owner states between 2011 – 2016,” the statement said.
“Olowofela also claimed that members of staff unions were the ones preventing the audit firm, KPMG, from carrying out the forensic exercise, on which the owner states premised their decision not to release funds to the university.
“Our union is disturbed but not surprised, about this deliberate misinformation and manipulation of facts about issues on ground. While ASUU is not a mouthpiece for the university administration, it is strange that the governments which put LAUTECH administration in place cannot demand accountability from the same appointees.
“They prefer to confuse issues by putting blames on the doorstep of the workers of the university and putting the lives and careers of about 30,000 students in jeopardy.
“The operation of the accounts solely lies with the university administration and it must be held responsible for any infractions thereof.”
The union argued that the wage bill of LAUTECH is about N365 million per month, which amounts to N4.38 billion per year.
“Therefore for 2011-2016, the total wage bill expected as subvention from the owner governments stood at N26.28 billion,” ASUU submitted.
“This amount does not include allowances, gratuities and pensions that accrued. It is also necessary to note that the University administration used Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and reserves to offset salaries for 18 months.
“The IGR is derived essentially from fees paid by different categories of students. Therefore, it is appalling that the Commissioner for Education who is also a University Professor will be peddling lies alleging that N13.63 billion will pay even salaries of members of staff for six years.”
The union also pointed out that between 2011 and 2016, there was no release of capital grant and overheads to LAUTECH.
“Regarding capital development, infrastructure, acquisition of equipment and staff training, LAUTECH has barely managed to be credible as a university through ASUU-inspired Federal Government intervention programmes such as TetFund and NEEDs Assessment,” it noted.
“It is particularly regrettable that the level of indebtedness of the owner states to the university succinctly captured by the Olanipekun Visitation Panel is being down-played by the commissioner just to pursue the shadow they call ‘forensic audit.”
The union also argued that the locus of financial policy and the repository of the financial documents of LAUTECH are the University Council and administration which are the appropriate organs to be asked to account.
“Our union, ASUU, should not be dragged into the encumbrances surrounding the financial auditing by KPMG and this should not be linked with non-payment of salaries.
“Our union wants to point out the unexplained and unacceptable silence of the University administration on the claims highlighted above; a pointer to either the acceptance or connivance with the owner state governments to destroy LAUTECH,” ASUU added.
The Oyo State education commissioner had recently urged ASUU and other unions not to disrupt the activities of the audit firm by calling an industrial action, saying the audit report would help in better management of the institution.
He also said the owner states were at the verge of releasing funds to the university, but it was necessary for the audit report to first ascertain the state of finances at the institution.
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello's Roadmap to Hope 2023