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Ojukwu varsity lecturers boycott classes over poor pay

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Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) lecturers insist they will not return to the classroom unless the authorities agree to increase their pay.

COOU students were forced to stay at home after the Federal Government shut down all schools in March due to COVID-19 outbreak. The Vice Chancellor of the Anambra State-owned institution, Prof Gregory Nwakoby, had asked the students to return to school on September 21, after the Federal Government confirmed a drop in the number of new coronavirus cases in the country.

But addressing a press conference at the Igbariam campus of the university yesterday, the Chairman of the COOU branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Alphonsus Aniebo, told the students to stay at home.He decried undesirable learning conditions in the school demanding increased funding.

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Aniebo said: “There is a total lack of infrastructure for online teaching and learning. Departments with a large number of students do not have lecture halls to accommodate them, while maintenance of social distancing is not feasible.

“COOU is yet to introduce the differential increment in staff salary as a result of the minimum wage. ASUU members spend an average of N2,000 daily on fuel to go to work.”

The lecturers said they would not end their strike until they get a favourable response to their demands. However, Nwakoby accused some ASUU members of working towards frustrating academic activities in the university.

The VC said: “We are paying salaries and nobody is owed. Every worker who is due for promotion has been promoted, they are collecting imprests.” He said academic activities would go on despite the strike, urging the students to return.

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