Protest in AAU over salaries, as government appoints Acting VC
Activities at the Edo State-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma were grounded yesterday as members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) protested non-payment of their accumulated salaries amidst deployment of tight security made up of policemen and vigilantes to maintain peace at the University.
But while the protest was going on, the state government announced the dissolution of the school’s Governing Council and appointment of Professor Benson Osadolor as the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University which it said should take effect immediately.
A statement by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie Esq. reads: “In accordance with the Ambrose Alli University (Special Intervention Powers) Provisions Law 2021, the Edo State Government hereby announces the dissolution of the Governing Council of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and appointment of Prof. Osarhieme Benson Osadolor as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the institution.
“These directives take immediate effect,” it added.
Meanwhile, the ASUU and NASU members adorned branded T-shirts, 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 for 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 celebrated the exit of the Vice-Chancellor of AAU, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, who formally handed over to Osadolor.
The staff were also protesting the new law passed by the state House of Assembly which gave sweeping powers to the state governor as Visitor to AAU to take over the running of the University.
One of the lecturers said yesterday on condition of anonymity that they would challenge the new law in court as the matter was discussed in their congress yesterday.
He said “The powers conferred on the governor by the law are alien to the public University system. What the governor did was to annul the University Statute, using military fashion”
“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.
Vanguard News Nigeria