Irate members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, and National Association of Academic Technologist, NAAT locked down the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife on Monday over what they termed a skewed sharing formula in the disbursement of money released for their earned allowances by the federal government.
The federal government had, two months ago, released N23 billion for the country’s public universities to settle earned allowances arrears. That amount was part of the N220 billion the government pledged to the schools, as part of a resolution reached to address the last strike action embarked on by staff unions of the universities over the non-implementation of previous agreements.
But OAU’s share of the money has now caused internal crisis. During a meeting held between the Vice Chancellor, Eyitope Ogunbodede and the unions on Monday, the school proposed 89:11 ratio. That is, the academic staff, ASUU, take 89 per cent, while other unions take 11 per cent.
No sooner had the meeting ended than the non-academic staff, NASU, the academic technologists, NAAT, joined by members of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU embarked on protest, which brought parts of the school’s routine activities to a halt.
The aggrieved staff told PREMIUM TIMES that the sharing formula could not be accepted by their unions because it was too skewed against them. They said they, like ASUU, also fought for the release of the funds.
“This earned allowance was released by the government and we all fought for it together,” said a representative of NAAT who identified himself as Mr. Olusoji. “What is good for the goose, is good for the gander. I see no reason why any union should lay claim to a higher percentage of the money.”
He disclosed a congressional resolution that the protest should not cease, “until they yield to our demands and that a letter should be sent to the national body.”
A member of NASU, Abu Adamu, insisted the money must be shared equally between ASUU and other unions.
“This is not the first time money will be sent and we will all share it 50:50,” said Mr. Mr. Adamu “It is not done anywhere. Even before the money will be released for disbursement, all the unions must sign that they’ve agreed to the ratio, which we will not do.”
“I’m afraid if by tomorrow, it is not addressed, we will end up going on strike.” added Mr. Adamu.
This was corroborated by the branch chairman of NASU, OAU, Wale Odebunmi, who said, unless there is resolution, a strike action may ensue.
The aggrieved staff further told PREMIUM TIMES that there was no letter from the government prescribing the sharing formula. He alleged that purported government’s template shown by the management was not duly stamped.
Reacting to the development, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the school could only urge the protesting staff to embrace peace.
“We urge everyone to allow peace to reign. Let them come to the round table and let the money be shared,” Mr. Olanrewaju said.