The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared that about 10 lecturers in Ambrose Alli University have died in struggle arising from unpaid salaries arrears which made it impossible for them to meet financial and health needs since the struggle for Universities autonomy began.
Recall that public Universities have been shutdown since February 14, 2022 over alleged failure of the federal government to implement the renegotiated 2009 agreement, request to deploy University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) in place of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) enrolment (IPPIS) and other issues of concern.
Dr. Cyril Oziegbe Onogbosele, AAU ASUU Chairman disclosed this on Wednesday during a solidarity rally in Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State where they held special prayers at late Professor Ambrose Alli statue by the market square.
Onogbosele lamented that lecturers in the state-owned University have been denied 19 months salaries by the State government.
He demanded for improved working conditions, infrastructural development and University autonomy, clarifying that the agitation for better funding of Universities is not limited to the federal government-owned Universities.
“We want revitalization of public Universities. We want better conditions of service, infrastructural development, Universities autonomy. That is what the strike is all about.
“Since this strike started, we have lost something in the neighborhood of 10 lecturers. Some of them we know specifically, they cannot afford Medicare.
It seems that the State government and the Ambrose Alli University administration are obnoxious. Workers have been denied their salaries for 19 months now. Many of us are dying as a result of that. We cannot meet our financial obligations to our families because of unpaid salaries”, he said.
On his part, President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osedeke berated Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki for attempting to obliterate the legacies of Ambrose Alli University through erosion of its autonomy, adding that he lacks the power to suspend union activities and proscribed the Governing Council of AAU and replacing same with Special Intervention Team (SIT), which he claimed is unknown to Universities regulations.
The University Don, challenged the Governor to showcase his landmark projects that he has attracted to AAU since he became the Governor of the State, adding that majority of the projects in the institution executed by TETFUND and NEEDS Assessment projects.
“As we speak to you, this University, built by that man does not have any substantive officer. The vice Vice-Chancellor is acting, Deputy Vice-Chancellor is acting, Bursar acting, Registrar acting, Librarian acting, which is against the rules of any University.
“We are here to rally with our branch here, AAU Ekpoma because of what the governor is doing presently to destroy one of the best Universities ever built in the early 1980 by Prof. Ambrose Alli.
“It would have been one of the best Universities if they had followed his footsteps. What what they are doing today is how to destroy the University and we will not allow that to happen in his memory and on behalf of everyone who is from the old Bendel State and present Edo State. We will not allow that to happen”, he said.
On his part, the immediate past president, Prof. Biodun Opeyemi said the union needs to rise up against the action of the state governor for proscribing union activities in the state-owned University in order to deter other state governors from following Obaseki’s step.
Efforts to obtain comments from Governor Godwin Obaseki’s spokesman, Crusoe Osagie were unsuccessful.
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