By Adejumo Kabir
Members of Non Academic Staff of University (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) in Obafemi Awolowo University on today protested against the non-payment of allowances among other alleged irregularities in the university community.
The workers said the protest was embarked upon to draw the public attention to alleged insensitifity of the university management towards the plight of students and staff of the institution and demmanded full implementation of a 2004 agreement with the school management.
OAU SSANU Chairman, Oketunde Ademola, said the protest is meant to show the non-teaching staff’s displeasure toward the injustice.
He noted that the civil disobedience was meant to reject the “illegal deduction of 7.5 per cent of staff salary” and to request for full implementation of the “earned allowance” agreement that was reached in 2004.
“We are in this struggle because there is fraud and we are protesting against it. We have complained to the federal government. We have written to the EFCC, nothing has been done. We have also written to the director of State Security Service (SSS), nothing has been done. We have written to many agencies,” he said.
“It is even beyond the issue of earned allowance. If they implement earned allowance today, we want the government to set up a very powerful panel to investigate OAU,” Mr Oketunde said.
His counterpart, NASU Chairman, Wole Odewunmi, noted that despite the approval of the earned allowance by the school governing council, “there has not been full implementation.”
Odebunmi explained that only the parts of the agreement which relate to the university’s ‘big officers’ were being implemented, and that “the parts which deal with the generality of staff, such as Hazard allowance, have never been implemented.”
He noted that the issue had once been raised in 2015 “which led to chaos”. He said the non-teaching unions were sued to court then.
“The body has deemed it fit to re-raise the issue as it realised that the university employed over 140 staff in December, 2018, unknown to the federal government, without following due process and despite the fact that salaries of new staff can only be paid after two to three months succeeding employment. The new staff salaries payment has continued unabated since December which disproves the management’s claim that there is no fund.
“There are lots of things they have been doing, which we have been enduring. But following this struggle that has been started, we’ll start inviting the press to raise other ones. Our argument is that there is enough fund to ensure the implementation of the agreement, they shouldn’t say there is no fund,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a telephone interview, Monday night, the SSANU Chairman explained to newsmen that the outcome of the meeting with the university management “was not favourable.” He said the protest will continue.
“The meeting was not that favourable. The management was unable to meet our demands. The struggle will still continue tomorrow because we have to report to the Congress. So, I don’t see us resuming tomorrow,” he said.
The school’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olanrewaju, was also contacted by for the school’s reaction. He said it is a family affairs and not meant for newspaper publication.