FastNews reports that in order to reposition Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma for improved learning and growth, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Edo State Government to take immediate action in the institution’s ongoing industrial issue.
The demand was issued by the ASUU, Benin Zone, yesterday in Benin City at a press conference. According to the union’s coordinator, Prof. Fred Esumeh, it was necessary because of blackmail, mischief, and propaganda against the union branch in the institution.
Esumeh, who was joined by the chairmen of branches under the zone, said the union frowned at the poor funding and mismanagement of the university’s resources and the management’s inability to meet its obligation of payment of staff emoluments, hence a resort to irregular and selective payment of salaries.
According to him, the recent reduction in the monthly subvention of the university to an abysmally low N41.3 million from N270 million had led to the workers being owed 20 month salary arrears, from 2020 to date, with 15 months of unremitted sundry deductions to staff unions.
This, he said had put the total amount the university owed the union members and associations at N4 trillion.
“The state government must of a necessity intervene at this point to clear the arrears of emoluments of workers of the university.
“For what it is, the problem is a catalyst for industrial crisis and therefore a threat to the smooth running of the academic calendar and the general administration of the university,” he said.
The ASUU leader also described the current management model in the institution as bizarre and far from the idea administrative style of university administration in the country.
The institution, he noted was being run on ad-hoc basis with an amendment to its law, which step up Special Intervention Team (SIP) as against Governing Council required by the NUC.
Esumeh averred that the management might be de-marketing the quality and value of certificate of degree programmes in the school by forcing the resumption of academic activities in the school and illegal conduct of examinations with the input of relevant course lecturers.
Other issues, the ASUU coordinator said needed the stakeholders’ immediate attention included the suppression of staff right and freedom of association, controversial and inconclusive biometrics among others.
To achieve industrial peace at the university, the union leader said the management and the Edo government would have to return to the path of truth, dialogue and sincere commitment to the resolution of the crisis.
“All outstanding emoluments – salaries, check-off dues and other deductions of staff in the university should be paid without further delay to avoid the continuation of the local strike when the national strike is suspended.
“The Edo Government should approve a bail-out fund for the university and satisfactorily increase the monthly subvention to the university.
“The ongoing academic fraud in the university should be investigated and dealt with decisively. We therefore call on the regulatory agency, the NUC to immediately do the needful.
“The Edo Government should make haste to release a white paper on the report of the Special Visitation Panel to the university in Oct. 2020 to deter further embezzlement of the finances of the university and mismanagement of its affairs,” he said.
Esumeh therefore, called for the restoration of governing council to pave way for immediate appointment of substantive principal officers.