Academic activities hitherto halted at the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma in Edo State following the nationwide indefinite strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday resumed due to the division among members of the union in the university.
Some of the lecturers, who announced non-conformity with the ongoing strike, however, resumed teaching yesterday in some faculties and departments. The management of the university had last week ordered the lecturers and students to resume for normal academic activities, but a directive that was turned down by some of the lecturers, who insisted that the strike as called by the leadership of ASUU stands.
When New Telegraph visited the university yesterday, students were returning to the campus in large number following the directive of the management that they should return to the campus for academic activities to resume.
At the Department of Economics, School of Environment, College of Medicine, Faculty of Law and others, the lecturers were at the classes teaching the students. However, trouble began when some members of faction of the union stormed the venue of the ASUU Congress, disrupted the congress and damaged the public address system in the process.
Following the pandemonium the leaders of the union and other members were said to flee the venue of the congress for safety, while the microphone with which the Chairman of AAU-ASUU, Prof. Monday Igbafen was addressing the congress was seized. The factional group booed the leadership of the union, insisting to end the strike in the university by promising to resume full scale teaching of the students. One of the lecturers, who spoke under anonymity, declared that he had resumed lectures, pointing out that ASUU is not his employees.
“I have started lectures. ASUU is not my employer. We will not listen to them again,” he said. In his reaction, the Public Relations Officer for the institution, Mr. Edward Aihevba, said the university had resumed academic activities in order to get funds to meet it salary obligation to the workers. Aihevba further explained that the monthly subvention from the state government only caters for 45 per cent of its staff salary and the balance is sourced from the students’ school fees and therefore the university could either be in solidarity with ASUU or choose to sink.
“We are between the devil and deep blue sea. If we stay with the strike we sink. It is better we stay afloat while other universities are carrying on the strike action. Our university has been in solidarity with other universities, who will have full benefit of the strike action.
We are funded by the state government. Indeed, 45 per cent of our monthly salary requirement is what we get from the state government and we get the balance from the university internally generated revenue (IGR), which is majorly from school fees from the students.
This means we cannot afford for our students to remain at home.” On his part, Prof. Igbafen slammed the university management for threatening to sack ASUU members, who defiled the resumption order, saying that the lecturers in classes were on temporary appointment and those suspended from the union.
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