By Damola Kola-Dare and Oziegbe Okoeki
The expected resumption of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo failed to take place yesterday, as students and workers were barred from entering the school premises following a protest by the academic and non- academic unions over the non-implementation of the new minimum wage.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had announced that tertiary institutions in the state would be reopened on September 14. Students in 300 and 400 levels were expected to resume with workers who had been away from work as result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) masterminded the protest and even initially denied the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, entry into the school premises.
In a chat with The Nation, SSANU Chairman, LASU, Comrade Oseni Saheed, disclosed that workers were protesting the non- implementation of the minimum wage among other issues.
“We have shut down the school because of non-implementation of the minimum wage, among other issues such as Consequential Adjustment, which has been on for close to two years.
“There is no activity whatsoever in LASU, it is total shutdown from all the unions. There is no entry and exit,” he said.
The Dean of Students’ Affairs, Dr. Tajudeen Abayomi Olumoko, told the students that the matter would be resolved between now and Friday.
He however, told the students to go home and resume next Monday.
He said any information to the contrary would be sent to them through the Students’ Union representative.
Addressing the students, the Student Union President, Ashade Abdulbasit, told the students that the university management and concerned unions were already engaging the state and federal government on the matter. He urged them to remain calm and maintain peace.
“The university management and the concerned bodies are already engaging the state government and federal government. Let us be calm and maintain peace,” he said.
Following the disruption of resumption of academic activities over unpaid minimum wages by members of ASUU and NASU, Lagos State Government has called for caution.
The government, through a statement from the office of the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Education, signed by the SA, Tokunbo Wahab, cautioned the management of state-owned institutions to be cautious of actions that could thwart the effort of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration in repositioning higher citadel of learning for efficient service delivery.
The government said in a statement: “We expect that the management of these institutions pay up their workers’ salaries to avoid situations that look more like deliberate sabotaging the efforts of Governor Sanwo-Olu-led administration as we prepare for schools’ resumption this week.”
Investigation showed that the workers are angry that the increment in salaries promised by the state government since last year is yet to be paid even after appeals.
However, the government clarified the issues raised, saying all salaries and entitlements were being approved as at when due for the institution and that payment of salaries lied with the school management and not directly from the government.
Wahab explained that the institution receives N450,000,000.00 monthly as subvention and it is expected to prioritise staff welfare by ensuring prompt payment of salaries as at when due.
He frowned at the staff action and enjoined management of state-owned tertiary institutions to ensure prompt payment of workers’ salaries, to avoid future occurrence of unnecessary protests.