By Adibe Emenyonu
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma in Edo State yesterday protested against the nonpayment of their accumulated salaries, amid deployment of security agents to maintain peace at the university.
Members of the two unions adorned branded T-shirts and bore placards with various inscriptions to protest the half salaries they were allegedly paid from March to November last year and the four months’ salary they are being owed in 2021.
Supported in solidarity by ASUU members from the University of Benin, Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, and Niger Delta University (NDU), Yenogoa, the protesters also used the occasion to celebrate the exit of the Vice-Chancellor of AAU, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, who formally handed over the administration of the university to the newly appointed acting Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benson Osadolor.
Besides, the lecturers and non-academic staff are protesting the new law passed by the state House of Assembly which gave sweeping powers to the state governor as the Visitor to AAU, to take over the running of the university. The law was passed last Monday at the request of the governor, and given assent last Monday night by the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
The unions said: “The law is illegal- because it was passed by minority members of the Assembly. We are certainly going to court to contest the legality or otherwise of the new law.
“The powers conferred on the governor by the law are alien to public university system. What the governor did was to annul the University Statute, using military fashion,” a lecturer, who did not want his name in print, stated.
On the appointment of a vice-chancellor and other principal officers for the university, the National leadership of ASUU reportedly wrote to Obaseki through the AAU Governing Council six months to the expiration of their tenures, reminding governor to set machinery in process as required by law to appoint their replacements, but the governor allegedly ignored the advice.
“They are dragging ethnic politics into AAU, including the differences between Adams Oshiomhole and Obaseki, but we are only concerned with our welfare.
“For peace to reign, the vice-chancellor ought to have been appointed from within the university but if otherwise, due process should have been followed by advertising the position,” the lecturer said.