Members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, on Wednesday protested against the sack of 45 of their colleagues teaching at the FUTA staff primary school.
The placard-carrying protesters said the affected staff had already received their letters of dismissal, vowing that they would resist the federal government’s position.
Some of the placards read: ”Buhari this not the change we voted for. Save our jobs,” “‘Daramola Don’t privatize FUTA Staff Primary School,” “‘Teachers are not second class citizens’, ’’Stop maltreating us in FUTA staff primary School” among others.
Speaking during the protest at the FUTA sports ground, the chairman of the association, Benedict Chukwudi, said members of SSANU nationwide would begin an indefinite strike on Thursday if the federal government failed to withdraw its circulars for the sack of over 2000 of its members.
Mr. Chukwudi said the government was wrong in its decision to sack the workers despite the fact that a case filed in the court to challenge the action was still pending.
“It is only FUTA among all the federal institutions that have issued sacked letters to its affected workers,” he alleged, saying the institution appeared to be spearheading the onslaught against the teachers at the staff schools.
According to him, FUTA management had also gone ahead to advertise the vacancy positions on national dailies.
“The plan to disengage some SSANU members in 30 federal universities started during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime but failed to achieve its aim before the government expired,” Mr. Chukwudi said.
“This same circular was also issued again on October 9, this year by the Deputy Director of Ministry of Education, Mr. E.O Fayemi, directing the government to stop the salaries of the affected staffs, despite the fact that the matter is in court.
“The present government has decided to shun the court and go ahead with the sacking, this is wrong.
“I don’t know why the government had decided to bounce on the university staff school workers because the Navy, Police and other staff schools are still being paid by the government.”
However, the management of the institution in a statement issued by its Public Relations Officer, Adegbenro Adebanjo, said it took the decision to disengage the staff following the order from the government with effect from December, 31, 2015.
“After a thorough appraisal of the Federal Government Circular which precluded personnel/ teachers of primary school affiliated to institutions/agencies from being included in the nominal roll as from January 2016, FUTA Management sought the approval of the Governing Council to make the primary school independent of government funding in order to ensure that it is in a position to pay the salaries of teachers and personnel in its employ whose payment the Federal Government will stop from 31st December, 2015,” the statement partly read.
“The steps will also include the establishment of a board to run its affairs just like that of the university secondary school, a mechanism for its self-funding and fashioning ways to ensure that it is in a position to pay its staff who will cease to be on the nominal roll of the Federal Government from December 31st , 2015.
“The management therefore called on the interested disengaged staff to reapply to the staff primary school.”