Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has ordered the immediate resumption of academic activities in all state-owned tertiary institutions, even as he came down hard on the various academic and non- academic staff unions in the universities and polytechnics, suspending their operations.
The government’s sledge hammer followed the protest by students of the Ambrose Alli University, (AAU) Ekpoma, over the lingering strike by the local chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU).
The decision to break the strike was taken at Wednesday’s State Executive Council meeting. To demonstrate the government’s seriousness, a “no-work-no-pay” policy would be applied to defiant staff, while management of the institutions had been directed to pay immediately, outstanding salaries.
In a statement, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, listed the affected unions as: ASUU, the Non-Academic Staff of Universities, (NASU) Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU) Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, (ASUP) Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, NASUP, and all allied unions operating across all state-owned tertiary institutions.
Ogie directed that “By this notice, academic activities are to resume in all state-owned institutions, and all cadre of staff are directed to report to their duty posts immediately”.
He said “Students across all state-owned tertiary institutions are expected to resume for lectures as necessary measures have been taken to ensure resumption of academic and non-academic activities.
“Management of the affected institutions have been mandated to pay all outstanding salaries immediately”.
According to the SSG, “The management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, is hereby directed to implement a no-work-no-pay policy, declare vacant, and advertise the position of any staff that refuses to resume work in line with this directive.”
Recall that the AAU students had on Tuesday stormed the government house in their numbers to protest the continued closure of their school due to ASUU strike, and threatened mass action if within one week the government failed to reopen the institution.
Receiving the protesters, Governor Obaseki assured that his government would take necessary actions to reopen the university.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, the governor noted that education remained a top priority for the government, and that he would expedite action to ensure that the students got back to classes.
He said, “All that the leader of this protest has said today is in line with what the Edo State Government wants to do for the students of the institution. We have a challenge, as the hand of the government is tied to some extent, due to the activities of the various unions.
“Most institutions, including AAU, have staff unions, and easily join strike actions called at the federal level. This is not in the best interest of the students and lecturers”.