The crisis rocking the Obafemi Awolowo University took a new twist on Tuesday as protesting workers shut the entrances into the Senate Building of the university to prevent the bursar, Aderonke Akeredolu, from getting into her office.
Members of the non-academic staff unions of the university were demanding that Mrs. Akeredolu should clear her name over a petition before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, accusing her and a former vice chancellor of corruption.
Speaking for the protesters, Ajayi Ologbenla, the secretary of the local branch of NASU, said the bursar must address the issues raised against her before resuming work.
They alleged that the fraudulent activities of some officials of the university had led to the death of some members of the staff.
“The university lost an academic technologist in the Department of Chemistry on Saturday, who died because of the state of the varsity laboratories. A very delicate acid poured on his body while he was preparing to teach students.
“He was rushed to the health centre of the University but was rejected and transferred to the Teaching Hospital of the University where he lost his life. No one has been talking about that, the university has not cared about his family and yet someone is embezzling our money,” Mr. Ologbenla charged.
“We prayed for the emergence of Prof Elujoba (the vice-chancellor). It is wrong that after he emerged he would turn his back on us. We are tired of being made to suffer, let (the Bursar) clear her name with the EFCC because she may continue with the fraudulent acts if allowed to resume.”
Speaking also, Adeyosoyo Olusoji, vice chairman of the local chapter of the National Association of Academic Technologists, said the members were protesting the death of their colleague who died “because of lack of facilities”.
“We lost Oyediwura Samson because of lack of facilities. We have parents too who are here to protest against non payment of staff school staff for over eight months by the University management. We also have SSANU members well represented here,” he said.
“We wrote a letter to the Vice Chancellor expressing our mind on the recent death and state of the laboratories but nothing has been done, not even a visit to the laboratory like he promised. We are tired of being oppressed,” Mr. Olusoji said.
Addressing the protesting workers in front of the Senate Building later, the Vice Chancellor, Anthony Elujoba, promised to look into all the issues they had raised. “I appeal to you all to be calm and return to your various duty posts,” he pleaded.
He said the management under his leadership was doing all it could to make the learning and work environment more conducive.
The workers however demanded that he paid a visit to the laboratories to have a feel of the environment in which the workers were working.
The workers later returned to work after the pleas by Mr. Elujoba and a closed door meeting he held with the leaders of the various non-academic staff unions.
Attempts by the reporter to speak with the University’s Bursar on phone were abortive. She was also not around her office as some of the workers maintained their position at the Senate Building.
The Ibadan zonal office of the EFCC had earlier this year invited the Bursar and a former Vice chancellor, Bamitale Omole, over the allegations made against them in a petition by the workers.