Authorities at the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti today gave a chronology of events that led to the immediate closure of the university. In a statement signed by the head, directorate of information and corporate affairs, Bode Olofinmuagun, the school explained why the closure became inevitable. See full details below :
1. On November 11th, 2020, a tripartite meeting involving the Ekiti State House of Assembly; Chairman and some external members of Council; the University Management; and the Unions produced a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) aimed at resolving issues related to the outstanding emoluments and payment of gross salary as and when due.
2. All the issues raised have been sufficiently addressed by the university Administration with the improvement in the finances of the University except the payment of some outstanding salaries which management pleaded with the Unions to allow the IGR to grow as contained in the MoA.
3. The university Administration had been able to achieve the following amidst other welfare issues:
* Regular payment of gross salaries as and when due ever since.
* Payment of the balance of the salaries of the months of September and October 2020.
* Payment of the balance of PAYE deduction for the year 2019 and cooperative deductions for the month of March, 2020. As a matter of fact, between December 2020 and now, the university had paid other deductions apart from PAYE and cooperative to include Contributory Pension and Union dues to the tune of #209,689,480.79.
* Proper placement of some non-teaching staff with professional qualifications.
* Elevation of some academic staff to the Professorial cadre.
Also, non-teaching staff who were stagnated for over five (5) years and above were elevated to the positions of Deputy Director, Deputy Registrar and Assistant Chief Operations Manager.
* Promotion and confirmation of appointments of staff for 2019/2020.
4. Wednesday 14th, April, 2021 – ASUU in a letter to the Vice Chancellor titled “Declaration of industrial action” listed four issues as follows:
a. 3 months arrears of salaries for the months of July, August and September 2018
b. 6 years arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)
c. 24 months of unremitted pension deductions
d. 14 months of arrears of half (net) salaries.
5. Monday 19th April, 2021, there was protest by all the Unions that prevented members of staff from gaining entry into their offices for the better part of the day.
The protest continued every day till Friday, 23rd April, 2021 with more aggression including the use of abusive and unprintable words on constituted authorities as well as sharing of “akara” and ” eko” on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 to celebrate the demise of their perceived enemies.
6. Before and during the protest, the Chairman of the Governing Council kept engaging the Chairman of ASUU to seek an amicable way to resolve the crisis.
7. Wednesday, 21st April, 2021, the Management in the heat of the protest by the unions met with State Government functionaries led by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, the Head of Service, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the SSA to the Governor on Labour Matters. Following the outcome of this meeting, the Chairman of Council instructed that a meeting with the unions should again be urgently arranged. Consequently, a meeting of the Chairman and some external members of Council, Management and the unions was slated for Friday, 23rd April, 2021 at 1pm with the hope of resolving the outstanding issues .
8. However, by Thursday 22nd April, 2021 at 9.11pm, the Chairman of ASUU sent a text message to the Council Chairman informing him that all the leadership of the four unions (ASUU, SSANU, NAAT, and NASU) led by him would not be able to attend the meeting slated for 1pm by the Governing Council because the SSANU Chairman would be burying the father of his wife. The ASUU Chairman further stated that the meeting could only hold after they must have finished the burial ceremonies by 6.00 pm.
As disrespectful and disdainful of the Management and the Governing Council as this request was, the Council Chairman with the external members already contacted still agreed to the curious request that the meeting should hold.
9. The meeting commenced well after 6.00 pm with the union leaders led by the Chairman of ASUU coming late. The Chairman of Council opened the meeting by welcoming members and appealed to the Unions to show understanding and allow the University to improve on the IGR by not truncating the academic calendar with the hope that all the outstanding issues would be addressed in due course.
10. At the meeting, the Unions insisted that the irreducible minimum they could accept is payment of 5 months subventions amounting to N1.3billion Naira which must be paid before midnight of Sunday, 25th April, 2021 failing which they would make the university and the state ungovernable. The ASUU Chairman also insisted that a commitment must be given at the meeting that government would take up the wage bill of the College of Medicine. When the Chairman of Council pleaded that time was needed even to process their requests with the Visitor, the ASUU Chairman suggested that Council should hold a Zoom meeting with the Visitor and Governor of the State and his Exco to intimate them of the deadline as they don’t want promises again.
11. As deliberations on the above were going on, the Chairman of ASUU and two other members stood up upon checking his phone and immediately after angrily and furiously declared openly that the meeting could no longer hold as they were at that instance in possession of an information citing a rumor of Government’s intention to close down the University. All entreaties to the leaders by the Council were rebuffed as they walked out on the Governing Council and Management with a threat that they will make the University and the State ungovernable as from Monday, 26th April,2021.
12. Thereafter, Council, with Management considered the implications of a further disruption of peace on campus and decided to take the painful decision to in the meantime, close the University and suspend Union activities within the Campus and the immediate environment until further notice.
Head, Directorate of Information & Corporate Affairs.