The lecturers at the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology (OYSCATECH), Igboora, have been on industrial action for the past four months following the inability of the governing council of the institution and the state government to attend to the lingering issue of non-payment of salaries.
The school, one of the six tertiary institutions owned by the Oyo State government, is lamenting the non-payment of their full salaries and poor funding.
The others are: The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo; The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa; the Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; and College of Education, Lanlate.
These schools embarked on strike for several months last year due to the non-payment of their salary arrears and reduction of government subvention to the schools to 25 per cent.
The institutions resumed academic activities after reaching an agreement with the government in January.
However, in June, OYSCATECH embarked on another strike over non-payment of salary arrears of 17 months and payment of fractional salaries from January 2016 till July 2018.
Students of the college who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES lamented over the delay the strike has caused them.
Tijani Arisekola said “the real problem with Nigeria is that one cannot just graduate at the appropriate time.”
“The government will always draw you back. Even students cannot blame the lecturers. They are our parents and we understand the need to cater for the needs of their children. We continue to suffer from negligence and irregularities of the government.”
Another student, Lateef Shukurat, said the delay has caused some of her female friends to go into marriage without graduating.
“A friend of mine is already at home with a man who impregnated her on her street following the school strike. We learnt she went to greet the man and was forcefully lured to have sex with him. If the school has been on session, such may not happen. Although, I still blame the girl shaa…”
Lecturers condemn government’s insensitivity
Also, the college’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) who insisted in their last Congress that staff should not resume except they are paid a minimum of 100 per cent of their August salaries condemned the governing council and the state.
According to a statement by its chairman, Afees Adeniyi, the union decried the ‘deaf ears’ of the government to their request which they say has led to inadequate subvention and poor infrastructure deficit.
“We urge the state government to utilize the expected final tranche of Paris Club refund to defray the outstanding arrears as well as increase subvention given to OYSCATECH to 95 per cent to guarantee regular payment of 100 per cent workers salary and provide teaching facilities that will ensure students learn in a conducive environment.”
However, the institution’s management, while responding to the demands of students and lecturers, urged the workers to resume and subsequently allow the institution to look into their demands.
The spokesperson of the school, Opeyemi Olawore, when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES said: “The labour should understand the situation of things. We appeal to them to resume in order to give room for authorities to look into their demands,” she said.
Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to get the reaction of the state government were unsuccessful as the state’s commissioner of education, Adeniyi Olofela, did not pick calls put to his line nor respond to text messages, as at the time this report was filed.