Workers’ protest grounds Nigerian university

Federal University, Oye-Ekiti
Federal University, Oye-Ekiti

Workers of Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) on Monday commenced an indefinite strike against alleged victimisation, intimidation and non-payment of hazard allowances.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workers carried out the protest under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, and National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.

They also engaged a team of armed police officers led by the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Oye Ekiti, Sadiku Afolabi, a superintendent of police, in an argument.

Mr. Afolabi and his team had warned the protesting unionists against blocking the access road to the campus.

The workers, who held an emergency congress around the institution’s gate, accused the management of sitting on the promotion of those employed at the inception of the institution.

They alleged that the newly-employed ones were, however, promoted.

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The NAAT Chairman, Ekundayo Ajibaye, demanded the immediate withdrawal of queries issued to them and dissolution of panels allegedly set up by the university to intimidate the workers.

He also said that the workers wanted the university’s management to immediately constitute the Budget Monitoring Committee that would look into cases of alleged financial impropriety levelled against the institution.

Mr. Ajibaye said: “We are fighting impunity and corruption, which is at its peak in FUOYE and we want the Federal Government to beam its searchlight on its management.”

The chairman of NASU, Dada Adebayo, said the workers resorted to the industrial action because the management allegedly reneged on the agreement it reached with the unions after the last crisis in January.

The chairman of SSANU, Babafunso Awe, accused the management of being insensitive to the workers’ plights, saying they won’t back down until all their demands were met.

Mr. Awe alleged that the institution’s management had refused to release workers’ cooperative funds, which had caused them untold hardship.

The university’s Public Relations Officer, Godfrey Bakji, reacting to the protest, said the unions had no basis to go on strike because their leaders had been suspended by the university’s management.

Mr. Bakji described the workers’ allegations of corruption, intimidation, victimisation and impunity against the institution as untrue, baseless and unfounded.

He said it was also an attempt to blackmail the management.

He also described the strike embarked upon by the unions as illegal.

“The management has issued suspension letters to SSANU and NASU leaders for disrupting a meeting of the Governing Council of the university.

“The governing council then directed the management of the institution to issue queries to the leaders of the unions.

“They were given an opportunity to defend themselves, which they failed to take advantage of.

“On the issue of promotion, those who were qualified for promotion were issued their letters last week.

“The Act establishing the university does not give room for everybody to be promoted at once, there are processes to be followed,” Mr. Bakji said.

He urged the workers to allow peace to reign on the campus by returning to their duty posts, as well as see reasons with management on how to move the institution further.


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