We’ll soon return calm to Federal University Oye Ekiti — VC

The management of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti has assured the students it is working hard to ensure they resume studies in a peaceful environment as soon as possible.

The university’s management gave the assurance on Monday following recent acts of violence allegedly committed by some members of the non-teaching staff over payment of their allowances.

Some workers had invaded the mini-campus of the University some weeks ago and forced the others out of their offices, just as members of the University Council, the highest governing board, were about to hold one of their statutory meetings.

During the protest, they reportedly deflated the tyres of the official car of the Bursar.

On hearing news of the mayhem, the council members, most of whom are senior citizens, relocated their meeting to Ado-Ekiti at which they directed the Management to investigate the disturbances with a view to bringing those involved to justice.

In response to the directive, the management set up a panel, but the protesting workers refused to appear before it when summoned.

The management thereafter decided to suspend the workers pending the report of the disciplinary panel, a decision that was in turn upheld by Council.

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Kayode Soremekun, said despite the patience and maturity displayed by law-abiding members of the university community, including the students, the protesting staff had allegedly resolved to make life unbearable for everyone on the campus.

“As soon as the suspension orders were served on the workers, they dug up all kinds of age old grievances; and on the basis of these manufactured grievances, they decided to embark on industrial action,’’ he said in a statement made available to Premium Times on Monday.

‘’Since then, life has been made a living hell for law abiding members of the University community.

‘’Meanwhile all these dastardly acts have been reported to the appropriate authorities and very soon, the situation will be brought under control,’’ Mr. Soremekun said.

The crisis at the university started over protests over non-payment of allowances occasioned by the non-release of funds to the institution by the federal government.

But a source noted that the funding challenge is also being faced by other federal institutions.

Last Wednesday, the protesting workers were alleged to have attacked some members of the University community.

Later last week, members of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), joined the violent protest to complain against the extension of hazard allowance, initially exclusive to them, to other workers.

When the Management issued queries to the NAAT members over their action, they also refused to answer the queries.

They instead wrote to the Council about their grouse, but the Council directed that they too should be suspended over their act of defiance.

Speaking on Monday, the vice-chancellor said the institution’s management was determined to exercise civility in resolution of the crisis.

‘’Despite all these, we are determined to continue our work to turn this institution into a world class centre of learning,’’ he said.

‘’We are focused and unshaken by the present challenges because we are certain that we have been fair to all members of the university community.’’

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