By Adesina Wahab
It was an unpleasant resumption by staff and students at the Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo, as all staff unions in the school protested, yesterday, locking out the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, and others, following alleged refusal by the Lagos State Government to pay the workers the monthly new minimum wage of N30,000.
The unions involved in the action are; the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.
Incidentally, the Chairperson of the state council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Agnes Sessi, is also a member of SSANU in the university.
Speaking on the development, the Coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, CIPPR, LASU, Mr. Ademola Adekoya, said the state government was talking with the unions.
“We are hopeful that a settlement will be reached as soon as possible. The unions are discussing with the state government and a truce may be reached before the end of the day,” he said.
Also, the Chairman of College of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, MOCPED Branch, Mr. Jamal Apena, explained that the three staff unions on campus were on strike based on the directive of the Joint Action Committee, JAC.
At LASPOTECH, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics, SSANIP, Mr. Oluseye Ero-Philips and Vice Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, Mr. Salami disclosed that the workers complied with JAC’s directive and were on strike, though they did not lock the gates.
Workers at the Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, MOCPED, Epe, also locked the main gate, refusing workers entry into the campus.
At the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, AOCOED, members of the College of Education Academic Staff Union COEASU, opted out of the strike.
Lagos govt reacts
The Lagos State Government has described the Monday protests as “cheap blackmail.”
According to the Special Adviser on Education. Tokunbo Wahab: ”The protest is uncalled for. LASU like other Ministries, Departments, Agencies, MDAs, collect the sum of N450 million monthly from the state government as subvention.”
“The Government expects the institutions to also be responsible in the application of the funds and the staffing of the institutions. We must also remember that they have Internally Generated Revenue, IGR which they generate and not accountable to anyone on how same is expended.
“Aside the subvention, the government is also responsible for the infrastructural developments of the institutions and other ancillary things, including payment for accreditation exercise for which the last one cost the government N450 million. This is purely a cheap blackmail.”
He therefore, appealed to the protesters to have a rethink.