From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti

The management of Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) has said that the allegation by the Chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) of the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Mr Temidayo Aguda, on a radio station in Ado-Ekiti that the university management attacked the SSANU chairman of FUOYE, Mr Ben Faleye, on Monday, over the ongoing nationwide strike of the union, is not true.

Recall that SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) on Monday, embarked on national warning strike that will last for seven days over their unpaid four months salary by the federal government.

Consequently, the members of SSANU FUOYE on Monday grounded academic and other activities in the university and the branch chairman of the union, Faleye, had accused the management of the university of attacking him and his members with security agents.

Addressing journalists at a press conference in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital on Tuesday, the Vice Chancellor of FUOYE, Professor Sunday Fasina, denied the allegation, saying that he was not against the strike action and he did not direct any security agent to harass or threaten any SSANU member, noting that the security operatives were only available to maintain peace on the campus, adding that it is the responsibility of FUOYE management to maintain peace on all its campuses.

Prof. Fasina who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) Prof. Tajudeen Opoola, said, “the VC was not in Ekiti State on Monday, March 18, 2024. As a result, he was not on ground let alone ordering security agents to attack Mr Faleye.

“The Branch Chairman was not harassed by any security operative. The University sought the help of security agents to man the gate of the University and prevented the SSANU people from shutting it. Mr Faleye had no physical interaction with any security agents.

“The statement credited to Mr Aguda that the Branch Chairman was attacked is untrue because no security agent harassed the FUOYE SSANU Chairman as claimed.

“The Vice Chancellor did not direct any Security Agent to harass or threaten any member of SSANU. The security operatives were only available to maintain peace, which they did beautifully. “

Condemning the allegation that the VC was stopping staff from joining SSANU, he stressed that the management was committed to ensuring transparency and that financial regulations are followed to protect the integrity of the institutions.

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“Any insinuation that the Vice Chancellor is obstructing staff from joining SSANU is baseless and amounts to a deliberate attempt to discredit the university. Equally, the allegation that the Vice Chancellor is assuming absolute authority on union matters and suggesting that he alone can approve SSANU membership are blatant lies.

“The Vice-Chancellor, however, as the Accounting Officer of the University has the responsibility to ensure that financial regulations are followed before any fraction of a staff salary is deducted or applied for any purpose. Management reiterates its firm stance against such unfounded accusations and emphasises its unwavering commitment to upholding transparency and integrity within the institution.

“In Ekiti here, out of the three universities, FUOYE is the only University OCCUPIED on the directive of Mr Aguda announced on the Radio. The Strike was not observed at all in the other universities. Members of SSANU and NASU in EKSU did not join the strike. Yet a member of staff of EKSU had the temerity to orchestrate crises in FUOYE.”

Prof. Opoola disclosed that the university lost one of its students due to the activities of the striking union noting that the student could not be attended to at the University’s clinic on Tuesday morning.

“The VC expresses sadness over this loss. The student died this morning (Tuesday) because he could not attend the university clinic because of the strike action and activities of the union members. The student died of asthma,”

Noting that the relationship between FUOYE and SSANU has been very cordial, the university management urged the union to cease from preventing lecturers, students and other workers to do their duties, stressing “the University will not condone illegal and reckless behaviours and sheer inanities.”

The management of the institution thereby called on law enforcement agencies in the state to call Aguda and his cohorts to order in order to avert further damages.

FUOYE management, however, appealed “to all unions involved in the national industrial actions to conduct themselves within the ambit of the law. They should in particular, restrict themselves to the limitations of the directives of their national bodies which is in the public domain. There was no where the Joint Action Committees of SSANU and NASU directed that adversity be visited on FUOYE during the warning strike of 7 days.”

The university appealed to the federal government to pay the outstanding four months salaries owed all staff of federal universities, “in order to maintain peace on the campus and to preclude avoidable compromise of the already beleaguered s academic calendar.”

Other top principal officers of FUOYE present at the press conference included, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof. Olubunmi Shittu, University Registrar, Mr Mufutau Ibrahim, Director of Special Duties ( VC’s office) Omojola Awosusi, University Bursar, Mrs Bolanle Debo-Ajaguna, University Liberian, Dr Isaac Busayo, among others.