Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Congress of University Academics (CONUA) at its recent National Executive Council meeting, has condemned the intimidation and harassment of some of its members by some university administrations and some other unions within the university.
The National Coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu, restated its belief in freedom of association as entrenched in the Nigerian constitution, a provision which allows academics the freedom to join any union that they believe will best serve their interest.
The union categorically asserted that no amount of molestation or vilification can take it away from the path of progressive unionism. It therefore warned that adequate measures, as far as the law and Constitution of Nigeria permits, will be taken against anyone using intimidation or employing any other odious means to threaten its members.
While saluting those university administrations that held meetings to promote academic staff members during the COVID-19 lockdown, the union condemned in strong terms those that failed to organise such exercises, despite the fact that several academic staff have been waiting for their promotions for a long time, with some spanning five to ten years.
The union received information to the effect that some universities held senate meetings and congregation elections but refused to convene any meeting to carry out the promotion of its members, simply because some people threatened that such promotions, if ever announced, will be reversed.
The CONUA leadership expressed dismay by such pronouncements and announced its resolve to support any effort by university administrations to facilitate the due promotion of academic staff members.
It called on the government to reopen universities as soon as possible as CONUA members are ready to resume work, adding that everything necessary in terms of COVID-19 protocols must be put in place before reopening the universities in order to prevent students and staff from contracting the disease.
CONUA further stated that the education sector cannot continue to stagnate, as it appears that COVID-19 would continue to be a threat and “we must, in the circumstance, learn to strive to lead our normal lives.”
The union thus urged government to make available everything that can help universities to resume work as is being done elsewhere in the world.