By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
The National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, described as illegal the recent proscription of union activities by the management of the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti.
National President of NAAT, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, who stated this in a chat with journalists in Abuja, said that the action of the University management was capable of causing industrial crisis across the tertiary institutions in the country.
Recall that the Governing Council of the university had last week directed the immediate closure of the school and also proscribed all the staff unions in the institution that make up the Joint Action Committee.
The proscribed unions apart from the Students Union Government, SUG, are the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, the Senior Staff Association of Universities, SSANU, and NAAT.
Comrade Nwokoma, who was visibly annoyed insisted that the EKSU authority lacked the legal authority to proscribe unions in the school, stressing that the academic and non-academic unions were not a department of the institution which could be summarily shut down.
He described the action as null and void and of no legal effect, adding that his union would be writing to the school management to declare a trade dispute over the development.
According to him, “The National Association of Academic Technologists is a registered trade union and whatever action taken by the school authority is null and void. We would write to the management to declare a trade dispute which may lead to a national strike.
“Every Nigerian has the right to participate in union activities, so Ekiti State University is wrong to have proscribed the unions.’’
On the abduction and killing of students of Kaduna University, the NAAT, Comrade Nwokoma described the action as barbaric even as he condemned the rising insecurity.
He said the only panacea to arrest the ugly development was the decentralization of the security architecture and restructuring of the country could address the issues.
He said, “We are lending our voice to the creation of state police. The security architecture must be rejigged; over-centralization of security has not done the country any good.”
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would fulfill its promise by implementing the minimum wage arrears by the end of April.
He further said that the union members also want their allowances to be “mainstreamed into salaries,’’ stressing that the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement was overdue.
Nwokoma decried the proliferation of Universities, saying that it had been turned into a constituency project by state governors with every senatorial district hosting a tertiary institution.
He said, ‘’It is wrong for us to proliferate universities, building universities in every senatorial zone. Why can’t we have a university of excellence or a Harvard University in the country? The government should increase the carrying capacity of existing universities instead of establishing new ones.”
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