ABAKALIKI – Following the recent announcement of the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, that all trade unions in the state-owned University have been proscribed, the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ebonyi State Chapter, Dr Ikechukwu Igwenyi, has called on the state government to prioritise university education in the state.
Umahi, who met with the leadership of the unions, said: “The decision was taken in order to ensure that academic and non-academic unions’ activities do not negatively affect the resumption of academic and non-academic activities in the state-owned university.”
Meanwhile, the state commissioner for education, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima, said approval had been made for the release of N500m for the payment of staff salaries.
Dr. Igwenyi made this known in a statement issued in reaction to the recent proscription of ASUU in Ebonyi State University by the Governor of the State, David Umahi.
He said Labour matters are in exclusive list of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it is impossible for any governor to proscribe a national union duly registered and given a charter to operate.
“We are just a branch of ASUU and the national body of the union is very much aware of the situation in Ebonyi,” he explained.
The chairman, who is an associate professor and also the Head of Department of Biochemistry, Ebonyi State University, said the staff of the institution were being owed four months salary as at the time of this report.
He urged the people in government not to collapse public educational institutions simply because their children are not there.
“Most public office holders are not interested in our public schools and they don’t invest in the institution because all their children are studying overseas,” he explained.
He called on the staff of the university to remain resolute until government meets up their demands.
He, therefore, urged the students who are losing their patience to remain calm until victory is achieved.
Also, the ASUU chairman of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), Dr Oguguo Egwu, said the governor did not make consultation before taking such action. Dr Egwu stressed that the Governor acted in ignorance.
“The Governor of Ebonyi State must be joking; he doesn’t have such right to proscribe a National Union. He should consult people who know better than him when it comes to ASUU and Government,” the ASUU leader fumed.