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Exclusive: LAUTECH Committee Meets Saraki, Reveals Real Situation Of Things

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The Chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Alhaji Aleshinloye Abimbola Muraina, in an exclusive interview with Joseph Ayantade after a meeting with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in Abuja revealed the real situation things with the school and hopes of resumption.

Speaking on the cause of the LAUTECH impasse, he said, “It has to do with funding, and this started over a year ago. There was no more funding from the two owner-state governments for over a year. Osun state reneged on its own part of the subvention given to the university since 2013, and along the line, Oyo state government stopped their own. In order not to close down the university since 2013, we have been running on internally generated revenue (IGR), which was used for almost 33 months.”

“We used that IGR to pay our salaries for 22 months. However, the IGR is not increasing, yet there was increment in our spending. That could not sustain the university. It is the responsibility of the governments to fund the university being a public university.”

READ ALSO: LAUTECH Strike Is Unacceptable -Saraki

“Even if all 27,000 students pay their school fees at a time it is going to give us N2.2 billion, and our salary for the whole year is about N6.2bilion. By the time we take out all expenses of the institution, nothing will be left to pay salaries. We also have retirees who are not been paid. Deducting their pensions and gratuities from the same amount is not sustainable. Now, the IGR is not even there. Those of us that are parents that are not paid, and other parents both in Oyo and Osun states, how are we going to pay school fees?”

“Within the period of 10 months that we have not been paid, up to 14 of our members have died. Many of them died because of the normal N5000 they could no longer afford to buy their terminal drugs. Some are in the hospital, whether they are going to die or not we don’t know.”

Reacting to the accusation of the governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi, who accused the employees of preventing the government from carrying out an audit of the university, he said, “Does auditing a university or an organization stop normal activities? What does auditing have to do with students? What does auditing have to do with normal academic activities? Are you saying someone you have not paid for the last 10 months should come and resume work for auditing?”

When asked about the meeting with the Senate President, Muraina said, “We are in Abuja right now, after several meetings with the governors had yielded no good fruit. We are in Abuja to see the president of the senate who invited us to a meeting today, and he attended to us very well. He told us that they have already set up a committee. That is between the minister of education, the senate, and the Oyo and Osun state governments. This is because we requested for a bailout in order for us to resume work, and he assured us. We just finished the meeting at the national assembly.”

On if there is any likely resumption date, he said, “It is even possible for us to resume tomorrow morning if they have paid us our salaries. How can you have not paid somebody for 10 months and expect them to go to work. To come and do what?”

“In our own case, we not even on strike. It is only that we don’t have money to come to work again. Some of have gone to the farm, while some are doing menial job with the bricklayers for survival. We are not on strike. We are therefore appealing to the Oyo and Osun state governments to do the needful. Our students have been in the same class since 2015.”

“Before we know the damage they have done to LAUTECH, it is going to be in the next 5 years. No student is picking LAUTECH as their first choice again. People are taking their transcripts and transferring to other universities. It is as terrible as that.”

“If your children offend you, must you kill them? We are appealing to Oyo and Osun state governments to do the needful for the sake of the future of these students and the school. Somebody built LAUTECH, somebody developed it. LAUTECH must not die!”

The JAC which Alhaji Muraina chairs comprise of the School Senior Staff Association of Nigeria University (SSANU), LAUTECH, Ogbomoso Chapter; Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), LAUTECH, Ogbomoso Chapter; and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), LAUTECH, Ogbomoso Chapter.  One cannot but hope that something good urgently come from the committee that the senate has set up. It would be recalled that the senate president had earlier said that the continued closure of the school is no longer acceptable.

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