Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma chapter, has called on the students of the institution and people of Edo State to hold the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Ignatius A Onimawo, responsible for a possible prolonged strike in the university.
This was contained in a press statement signed by Dr Monday Igbafen and Dr Anthony Aizebioje-Coker, Chairman and Secretary of the University’s branch of ASUU, respectively, and made available to reporters in Benin City.
The university’s branch of ASUU began an indefinite strike action on the midnight of March 25 to get the university administration and the Edo State Government to seriously address matters of habitual non-payment of salaries, check-off dues and other sundry deductions in the university.
The union stated that the outgoing Vice-Chancellor’s present approach would compound, complicate, escalate and prolong the crisis in the university and urged the public to prevail on the university administration and the Edo State Government to do the needful in order to return normalcy to the institution.
The union alleged that the Vice-Chancellor’s apparent desperation is to keep the institution running against all odds, not because of the welfare of workers, the students’ academic development and the development of the university, but for the selfish interest to continue to present a picture of normalcy to the state government till he leaves office on Ma 11.
According to the Union, ‘the Vice-Chancellor also wants to ensure that the university is opened to enable him celebrate the so-called 40th anniversary of the university against the disapproval of both the Governing Council of the university and the Visitor to the University and the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki.
‘Against the Visitor’s disapproval, the union is not unaware that the Vice-Chancellor, Professor IA Onimawo, has insisted on celebrating the event, even also in the face of sweeping and cripplingly industrial crisis in the university as a result of the strike actions by all the staff unions in the university over unpaid salaries, check-off dues and other sundry deductions.
‘Of course, the public need to be informed that the Vice-Chancellor has an elaborate arrangement for his end-of-tenure celebration come May 11th and for which donations are being demanded or solicited from staff of the university who cannot feed and are struggling to eke a living in the frustrating context of non-payment of salaries, check-off dues and other sundry deductions by the university administration.’
The union tasked the outgoing Vice-Chancellor to face the challenge of paying up the unpaid salaries and check-off dues and stop his incitement of students and state government against the workers of the university who are demanding for their legitimate salaries and earnings.
The union added: ‘No amount of manipulation, intimidation and victimization shall make us retract our demand or suspend the ongoing strike without satisfactorily meeting our demand for the payment of our entitlements.’
The union said that its current strike is to save their cooperative societies, welfare associations, and their collective commonwealth from collapse and their families from misery, as this university’s administration exits.
The union further insisted that its current strike was a just one because the university lecturers deserved to be paid their salaries, check-off dues and voluntary savings deducted from their salaries.
Reacting, the institution’s spokesman, Mr Edward Aihevba, said it is not a must that the school would celebrate its 40th anniversary just as he said the institution is not responsible for its funding.