THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has alerted stakeholders,
students, parents and guardians as well as the public of alleged unabated systematic decimation of the University Law (1999) (as amended) and unprecedented surreptitious amendment of the University’s Senior Staff Regulations and University Law 1999 (as amended)/the Special Intervention Powers Provisions Law 2021 without due process as provided by law.
The nature, composition and tenure of the Special Intervention Team (SIT) as a derivative of the Special Intervention Powers Provisions Law 2021 is currently a subject of dispute at the High Court in the Ekpoma Judicial Division, Edo State. The Special Intervention Powers Provisions Law 2021 lapses 4th December, this year as it relates to the existence of SIT as a body conferred with the full functions of the University’s Governing Council by the same Special Intervention Powers Provisions Law 2021.
In a statement signed by Dr. Cyril Oziegbe Onogbosele and Dr. Willam Odion, Chairperson and Acting Secretary, respectively of the University’s Chapter of ASUU, the Union alleged that the university principal laws are being surreptitiously amended in breach of due process to possibly perpetuate SIT and create provisions in the laws that will be toxic to the wellbeing of the University and its staff and against best global practice.
The Union cited its worry to the statement credited to the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Sonnie Adagbonyin during the last Senate meeting of the University, where the Acting Vice Chancellor categorically stated that the University laws are being amended and that a new staff regulations had come into effect, October 17, 2022 without inputs from primary stakeholders in the University.
In the statement, the Union said, “Yes, the State Government, including the House of Assembly can amend the University Law for good cause. Why are they secretive about it? Why are they repulsive to inputs by stakeholders, particularly those in the university system? The situation calls for suspicion!”
The Union further stated that “the amendment of the Rules and Regulations governing the services of senior staff in the University without recourse to the procedure stated in the Law/Regulation of the University is another breach by the University. Workers in the University only came to know of a new amendment of the Rules and Regulations in the University News Bulletin of Friday, 28th October, 2022 where it was stated or reported that a new regulation has been approved for the University with effect from 17th October, 2022.”
The Union expressed grave concern that there was no contribution from stakeholders to the purported amendment that the Acting Vice Chancellor claimed to have reached advanced stage of amendment in the House of Assembly, describing such amendment as a case of arbitrariness and sinister motives that should not be tolerated in a university of twenty-first century.
According to the Union, “In 2021, part of the aforesaid law was amended by the State Government without public hearing to pave way for the emergence of an authority/structure alien to the university system. The amendment removed the authentic structure and functions of the Governing Council important for normal and sane administration of public universities in Nigeria. Since the inauguration of the SIT which claims to have the powers of Governing Council, the University and its staff have been victims of impunities and deprivations.”
The Union urged the Edo State Governor and Visitor to the University, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to save the University from unprecedented slide into the abyss of lawlessness and abuse of the University laws and procedures.
The University Administration was berated over the lingering salary crisis in the University, which the Union said has not abated. The Union asserted that the salary crisis has been complicated by the deliberate disposition of the University Administration towards undue punishment of staff through non-payment of their monthly salaries.
“Through propaganda and falsehood, the University Administration has been deceiving the public that staff are being paid salaries and that unpaid salaries of staff does not exist. From available information, a considerable number of staff have been denied their salaries since January 2022 till date”, the Union said.
The Union stated further that the salaries of few staff that were paid were arbitrarily altered in violation of the salary structure of the University which was a product of collective bargaining.
The Union condemned the unilateral abrogation or removal of the components of excess workload allowance or Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) and Responsibility Allowance from the salaries of members. These were all products of collective bargaining.
The Union alerted the relevant authorities to know that remittances from deductions to staff unions, workers cooperative societies and staff welfare organizations have not been made since September 2020 to present and that this development has made life excruciatingly difficult for staff.
The Union warned that unless urgent efforts were made to resolve the current problems bedeviling the University, workers in the University would continue to grapple with the pains inflicted by lawlessness and impunities by the University authorities, thereby hampering industrial harmony and peace in the University.
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