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Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) lecturers cry out as they protest 16-months salary arrears by Government





Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) teachers yesterday marched on the Itamerin-Igan Road in Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

They were protesting under-funding of the institution and non-payment of their 16-month arrears by the government.

The lecturers decried poor funding, infrastructural decay, empty laboratories and libraries as well as increasing salary arrears owed them.

Protesting under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), OOU Branch, the lecturers said they had wrritten to Governor Ibikunle Amosun, the Governing Council and the management.

They carried placards, some of which read: “Governor Amosun should properly fund OOU. It is a statutory responsibility”; “Funding OOU should be made a first line charge. It is the first among equals”; “Depending on IGR to fund OOU is an act of gross irresponsibility on the part of state government”; “Education is not a commercial venture, it is a social investment” and “Amosun, don’t destroy the little consolidation Saburi has achieved through TETFUND”, among others.

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ASUU Chairman Dr. Deji Agboola said the lecturers might embark on an indefinite strike since the government would not reason with them.

Agboola said the strike would be “total, comprehensive and indefinite”.

He said their demands included reversal of the precarious funding situation at OOU and taking over of the payment of full staff salary to free the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for academic and infrastructural development.

The ASUU chairman also said the lecturers wanted an end to the quality decline at OOU by instituting a reliable funding structure and release of fund for Earned Academic Allowances.

His words: “One prominent way in which the government has been cutting back on funding is the non-payment of full salary of staff and removal from subvention head.

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“We have written several letters to the council and the Visitor to this effect. Public education is a social good.

“Government currently pays about half of the full salary of staff at OOU. To make matters worse, the so-called salaries are placed under the  subvention heading; a misleading heading which could be misinterpreted as grant meant for research and development of the university.

“Government also pretends that it does not know that this half of full salaries of staff is the subvention sent to the university. In short, the government has failed to send the supposed subvention to the university for 16 months. What a shame,” Agboola said.

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The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Modupe Mujota, could not be reached for comments.

But Governor Ibikunle Amosun had said there was no magic his administration could do now about the funding challenges of the state-owned tertiary institutions.

At the stakeholders’ meeting in Abeokuta, the state capital, in respect of the 2016 budget, Amosun said when the state’s financial fortunes improves, he would address the needs of tertiary education.