Government largesse tears UI, OAU workers apart
There was tension in the University of Ibadan (UI) yesterday caused by breakdown in the sharing of the N1.6billion Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) released by the Federal Government to the institution.
The non-academic staff locked all the gates to the campus as early as 7.00am. Visitors were not allowed to drive into the university, leaving many to abandon their vehicles at Agbowo and other entry points. Academic activities were paralysed.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, appealed to the protesting workers to allow normalcy return to campus and to direct their grievances to the appropriate quarters.Following the suspension of the nationwide strike embarked upon by the academic and non-academic staff of the universities in the country, the Federal Government released N23billion to 24 federal universities to pay the allowance for 2009/2010.
It was gathered that out of the money released, N18.3billion was allocated to the academic staff while N4.6billion was provided for the non-teaching staff. But the three non-teaching staff unions, including Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non- and NATP rejected the sharing formula, insisting that the money be shared equally.
The allocation of N1.6billion to the University of Ibadan academic staff while the non-teaching staff got N105million based on the controversial sharing formula generated the tension. Already, the chairman of ASUU in the university Dr. Deji Omole has alleged threat to his life and that of his secretary, Dr. Peter Olapegba.
The vice chancellor told The Guardian that he had met with all the unions on Monday evening and informed them of the letter he received from the Federal Government which stipulates the amounts for academic and non-teaching staff.He said leaders of the three non- academic unions walked out of the meeting because of his insistence on carrying out the directive of the Federal Government as stipulated in the letter.
In a letter to the vice chancellor, the Director of Funds in the Accountant General’s Office, Federal Ministry of Finance, Alexander Adeyemi stated that N1,626,117,386.20 had been paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of UI for academic staff while N105,709,758.33 was paid for non-teaching staff.
The sharing formula was also rejected by the non-academic staff of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife who staged a peaceful protest over the matter yesterday.The chairman of SSANU in the university Mr. Ademola Oketunde condemned the criteria used to share the money. He said the government should have allowed the school management to handle it. According to Oketunde, N1.6billion was given to ASUU, while N168million was allocated to the other four unions in OAU.
The chairman of NASU Mr. Wole Odewumi said the distribution was politicised. He called on Federal Government to intervene, so as to maintain peaceful co-existence in the university community.
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