Students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho will return to their classrooms on Monday for the first time in six months.
This followed an announcement on Tuesday by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, calling off the protracted strike action involving the teachers and other workers of the university.
The students have not resumed academic activities since April when they concluded their 2016/17 first semester examinations.
They will now begin the second semester of the session, months after other universities in Nigeria began the 2017/18 academic year.
Workers of LAUTECH had gone on strike on June 2 over poor funding by the two owner states of the university, Oyo and Osun.
Although the university asked the students to return to school on September 25 after the owner state governments announced that they had resolved the disputes with the workers, the students have not been receiving lectures because the teachers refused to resume.
The Dean of Student Affairs of the university, Lukman Jinadu, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that academic activities will resume officially on Monday as the local branch of ASUU called off their strike after a meeting on Tuesday.
“We are resuming officially on Monday,” Mr. Jinadu said.
Oyedeji Ahmed, a 500-level student of Agronomy at the university, said the teachers suspended their strike conditionally in the hope that the council and the management will meet the demands of their union.
“The management has paid their salaries for September and upfront for October and November 2017 but the union is asking for the years the management is owing,” he said.
“We are happy the storm is over, we are resuming lectures by Monday,” Mr. Oyedeji said
The school had been forced to close down earlier in 2015 just before the students were scheduled to begin their examinations.
Subsequently, the two state governments managed to come up with N500 million to settle the workers’ salaries, thus enabling the students to resume briefly and complete the 2015/2016 first semester in April, 2016.
But the money could only cover the workers’ salaries for two and a half months, following which the workers again downed tools in June.
Although it reopened briefly in February, there have been no academic activities.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported that the students appealed to the federal government to take over the school.
The alumni association of LAUTECH also initiated a fund raising scheme, #fundlautech, to assist the management of the school in addressing the funding challenges.
The aim of the #fundlautech initiative was to raise N1 billion in 90 days. But the student rejected the effort, saying any measure that does not offer a lasting solution to the perennial funding challenge was not acceptable to them.
Meanwhile, the Osun State government on Tuesday expressed confidence in the governing council and workers of the institution to bring the situation of the school back to normal.
The state government stated this following the payment of three-month salaries to the workers and subsequent suspension of strike by the ASUU of the institution.
According to the government, the payment of the three-month salaries was an indication that the council and the two owner state governments, were committed to the smooth running of the university.
In a press release by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Adelani Baderinwa, the Osun government said the resumption of LAUTECH workers and academic normalcy were important to the owner governments, as they were concerned about the plight of the students.
Mr. Baderinwa said the two owner state governments were concerned about the well-being of the students as well as the progress and development of LAUTECH and the welfare of its workers.
“Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi were very sensitive about LAUTECH matter and they have exhibited reasonable and convincing commitment to the welfare of the workers of the institution and the plight of the students,” he said.
Mr. Baderinwa said Osun government recently released N1 billion while the Oyo government, which initially released N56 million, was perfecting plan to provide addition fund for the university.
“Notwithstanding pressures from some quarters that Osun government should not commit the state resources to LAUTECH again due to obvious marginalisation of the state in LAUTECH, Governor Aregbesola who is passionate about functional education, a team player and a goal-getter will not cease in funding LAUTECH and will stop at nothing in ensuring that LAUTECH is back on its feet,” he said.
“The basis of agitation of Osun people is that Oyo indigenes in the employment of LAUTECH are about thrice that of Osun while only one faculty in the institution is located in Osun as against the seven faculties located in Oyo despite the equality in funding by the two states.”
Mr. Baderinwa urged LAUTECH labour unions to continue to cooperate with the council in ensuring that the institution is fully back on track.