There is an uneasy calm at the newly established Tayo Akpata University (TAU), Ekiadolor, Edo state following the state government’s plan to relieve about 700 workers of the institution of their job. Already, members of the academic and non-academic staff of the defunct College of Education (COE), which was upgraded to the Tayo Akpata University, have kicked against the plot, which they claimed was grand designed of the government so as to recruit fresh staff members.
Members of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and the state government have been at dagger drawn over the claim by the union that the government owed them more than four months’ salary arrears. But, the Chairman of the union, Comrade Fred Omonuwa in a chat with newsmen in Benin, the state capital, raised the alarm over the plight of the workers.
This was as he said that they were shocked at the statement credited to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the university, Mr. Thomas Okosun published in some national dailies (not New Telegraph) that members of staff in the institution would all have to reapply. Besides, he pointed out that the present staff of the institution “are not members of staff of Tayo Akpata University.”
According to Omonuwa, the implication of Council chair’s statement is that workers of the college of education have been sacked.
The union, therefore, vowed to resist any attempt by the state government to throw them into the labour market, even as the workers reminded the state government that Section 67 (2) guiding the establishment the university states that “new universities established shall inherit both assets and liability of the college.”
The union leader urged the government to adopt the Prof. Dennis Agbonlahon Committee’s recommendation on higher institutions in the state.
Omonuwa said: “When the Chairman, Governing Council of Tayo Akpata University made that statement we were disappointed, and apparently it shows that they are not well informed as to the state of affairs of the school.
I want to say that Hon. Thomas Okosun might not have read the Agbonlahon Report after it was set up by the state government to verify whether that place will be good for a university and the recommendation of the report states that over 130 staff member are qualified to lecture in the university having gone through their Curriculum Vitae and credentials and their published conference papers.”