ASUU Laments Sack, Suspension of Imo Members’ Salaries, Seeks Stakeholders’ Intervention

David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Owerri Zone, has raised the alarm over sack, salary suspension, harassment and other forms of maltreatment of its members in some universities in the country.

The body regretted that such injustices were meted at its members following their stand against abnormalities rocking the institutions.

Addressing journalists yesterday in Awka, the Zonal Coordinator, Dennis Aribodor, listed affected institutions to include Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri; Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) Igbariam; Kogi State University (KSU) Ayingba; Ebonyi State University (EBSU) Abakaliki; Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma, and others.

He called on visitors and stakeholders to the affected universities to urgently wade into the situations and reverse such injustices orchestrated by the concerned vice chancellors to its members.

He further expressed disappointment over the yet-to-be completed renegotiated FGN – ASUU 2009 agreement 15 years after it was signed.

He said: “In this country, once you stand on what is right, due process and justice, you’re marked for destruction. That’s just our problem with these universities.

“An example is the appointment of a serving minister as a professor without being a staff which we described as aberration.

“As a result of these, our members have been harassed, including barred from attending statutory meetings. The next alternative is to go violence which we don’t believe in.

“In COOU, our member was beaten up and suspended without pay for fighting illegalities, including examination malpractices.

“But we’ll continue to challenge abnormalities as academics because that’s our calling, speaking, teaching and preserving the truth, no matter whose ox is gored.”

Aribodor said the press conference was to alert the public of the federal and state governments’ continued and consistent ploys to undermine existence and integrity of  public universities through their systemic neglect, acute under-funding and the bastardisation of university autonomy leading to the inability of Nigerian universities to compete globally.”

He added: “The FGN – ASUU Agreement signed in October 2009 summed up the four key issues as follows: Conditions of service, Funding, University Autonomy and Academic Freedom and other matters related to regulations, working environment and others.

“This agreement was meant to arrest brain drain, attract best brains to the Nigerian university system from across the world and to position Nigerian public universities for global competitiveness.

“It is worrisome to note that this agreement that was designed to be renegotiated after three years (2012) did not start until March 6, 2017, and is yet to be completed till date (fifteen years after the agreement was signed).

“It is on this note that ASUU Owerri Zone is crying out through this press conference against government concerted efforts to annihilate public universities in Nigeria in favour of the commercialisation of university education via private universities owned by politically exposed individuals.

“We’re going to reconvene soonest as a national body to appraise the situation and take decision.”

Other ASUU bosses in attendance were those of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Igbariam (COOU); Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO); Imo State University Owerri (IMSU); Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka (NAU).

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