Non-academic staff and academic technologists at Obafemi Awolowo University on Monday blocked access to the academic areas on campus and withdrew their services at the school’s library and laboratories as they protested the proposed sharing ratio of the earned allowances, EA, released to the school by the federal government.
The federal government had, two months ago, released a sum of N23 billion for the country’s public universities to settle earned allowances arrears. That amount was part of the N220 the government pledged to the schools, as a resolution reached to address the last strike action embarked on by staff unions of the universities over the the non-implementation of the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the government.
But OAU’s share of the money has now caused internal crisis. During a meeting held between the Vice-chancellor, Eyitope Ogunbodede and the unions on Monday, the school proposed 89:11 ratio, that is, the academic staff take 89 per cent, while other unions take 11 percent.
No sooner had the meeting than the non-academic staff, NASU, the academic technologists, NAAT, joined by members of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, embarked on protest, which brought parts of the school’s routine activities to a halt.
The aggrieved staff told CAMPUS REPORTER the sharing formula could not be accepted by their unions because it was too skewed against them, whereas they, like ASUU, also fought for the release of the funds.
“This earned allowance was released by the Government and we all fought for it together,” said a representative of NAAT, Mr. Olusoji. “What is good for the goose, is good for the gander. I see no reason why any union should lay claim to an higher percentage of the money.”
He disclosed a congressional resolution that the protest should not cease, “until they yield to our demands and that a letter should be sent to the national body.”
A member of NASU, Abu Adamu, insisted the money must be shared equally between ASUU and other unions.
“This is not the first time money will be sent and we will all share it 50:50,” said Mr. Mr. Adamu “It is not done anywhere. Even before the money will be released for disbursement, all the unions must sign that they’ve agreed to the ratio, which we will not do.”
“I’m afraid if by tomorrow, it is not addressed, we will end up going on strike.” added Mr. Adamu.
This was corroborated by the the branch chairman of NASU OAU, Wale Odebunmi, who said, unless there is resolution, a strike action may ensue.
The aggrieved staff further told CAMPUS REPORTER that there was no letter from the government, prescribing the sharing formula and alleged that purported government’s template shown by the management was not duly stamped.
Reacting to the development, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the school could only urge the protesting staff to embrace peace.
“We urge everyone to allow peace to reign. Let them come to the round table and let the money be shared,” Mr. Olanrewaju said.
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