SSANU tackles Ondo govt over plan to establish fourth varsity
Decries non-payment of over 10 months salary arrears to lecturers
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) chapter of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), has condemned the proposed move by Ondo State Government to upgrade the state-owned Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO) into university status.
The SSANU chapter of AAUA, which opposed the creation of a new university, said that the current ones were underfunded.
In a statement yesterday, Chairman of SSANU-AAUA, Tayo Ogungbeni, said that four years after the new national minimum wage was adopted in Nigeria, none of the tertiary institutions in the state have implemented it for their employees.
Ogungbeni, who expressed disapproval of the action, stressed that lecturers and other members of staff of the state-owned universities are owed more than 10 months’ salaries.
He said: “We are entering the New Year with arrears of salaries ranging between four and 10 months in Ondo State tertiary institutions.
“Almost four years after the implementation of the New National Minimum Wage in Nigeria, none of the tertiary institutions in Ondo State has implemented it for its workforce. Are we not part of Nigeria anymore?”
“Underfunding is the hallmark of all the tertiary institutions in Ondo State, comprising three state-owned universities and a polytechnic, yet, the establishment of a fourth university is almost a done deal.
“Is our problem establishment of universities or improving the funding of the existing ones? Our governor should help the existing universities to compete favourably with other sisters’ universities worldwide.
“At the federal level, government is doing everything humanly possible to ‘kill’ public universities because government officials can conveniently send their wards to private universities and even abroad! Why will a reasonable government that failed in its responsibilities punished the workers with no-work, no-pay? It is unfortunate that university education is sitting on gunpowder.”
Ogungbeni added: “Only government can guarantee a stable academic calendar for public universities in the New Year. Since various unions in Nigerian universities suspended their strike, re-negotiation has also stopped! Our political leaders do not want the children of the masses to have a better future.
“Failure of the Federal Government to pay all the withheld salaries of our members cannot guarantee stable calendar. Do not allow the students to witness another episode in 2023.
“We as SSANU members love peace and will do everything possible to maintain peace but the only antidote to peace in Nigerian universities is adequate funding.”
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