By Idowu Ariwodola
Ado Ekiti – Some students of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, have appealed to the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) and the university authorities to resolve the lingering industrial crisis in the institution.
Some of the students told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Ado Ekiti that they were uncomfortable as the strike had entered the third month.
The university lecturers embarked on an indefinite strike at the end of December 2017, on issues bothering on improved staff welfare and under-funding.
A cross-section of the students, some of who should have graduated as well as returning and newly-admitted students, said they were tired of staying at home.
A student, Mr Solomon Adewale, said if the issues on ground were not settled on time, there was a tendency that the students might miss a whole semester.
Another student, Mr Gboyega Akinola, urged parties, ASUU and the school authorities to shift ground.
Akinola said both the school authorities and the lecturers should consider the future and plight of the students, who would bear the consequence of the strike.
The Chairman of ASUU in the university, Prof. Olufayo Olu, said the strike was embarked upon as a result of unpaid salaries and poor funding by the state government.
Olu said that only N260 million was being released as monthly subvention to the institution as against about N500 million required.
According to him, efforts made by the unions to make the state government understand the financial position of the institution and the need to be pro-active about it did not yield positive result.
“For instance, our several demands for increased subvention to the university and improved welfare of workers have always been treated with disdain.
“As I speak with you, we have not received “Academic Allowances’’ for six years.
“The management, at a time paid some of us that of 2011 to 2014 by borrowing N200 million from bank.
“I do not know how others will get theirs with this paucity of fund.
“The university currently has a wage bill of N455 million, so there is little we can do with a paltry sum of N260 million monthly subvention from the government.
“Our university has not got any of such subventions for some months. As a result, the university has always been borrowing to pay net salary.
“To further compound our situation, within the last one year, the total number of additional workers has almost caught up with total number of employees of the institution since its inception in 1982.
“This is without increase in budgetary allocation to the institution.
“The consequences of poor funding and such unregulated employment have contributed largely to irregular payment of salaries, poor research, and poor learning environment.
“Other consequences are increased health casualties, epileptic power supply, inability to pass accreditation, staff and students’ increased agitations, among others.’’
He said ASUU and other unions of the university would not return to work until all the demands were met.
According to him, the strike began after ASUU and other unions of the university lost four of their members due to unpaid salaries and inability to maintain their families.
Olu sympathised with the students for missing classes, the unions had in the past cooperated with the management, thinking that the opportunity offered by the unions, would be well appreciated.
Reacting, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Samuel Oye-Bandele, said the management was not losing sight of the plight of the students.
Oye-Bandele gave an assurance that everything humanly possible was being done to bringing the strike to an end.
NAN reports that the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Technologies and Allied Matters had earlier embarked on strike.
NAN reports that the strike became effective in December 2017, when ASUU joined the other three unions to press home their demands.(NAN)