VC tussle: OAU workers groan over unpaid salaries
Academic and non-academic workers of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife have lamented that the closure of the institution has affected the payment of their June 2016 salary. They explained that the paralysis of activities on the OAU campus has worsened their economic situation. OAU authorities had last month shut down the institution over the continuous protest by non academic staff of the institution resulting from alleged illegalities in the process of appointing a new Vice-Chancellor. After the closure, the Federal Government dissolved the Governing Council of the institution and ordered that the process of appointing a new VC should be suspended pending the outcome of a court case on the matter. The Punch gathered that some of the non-academic staff had began to seek another means of survival by soliciting for fund. When our correspondent sat amidst the workers on Friday, some of them complained that they had to borrow money to survive. Sources in the university confirmed that the salaries were not paid because of the unavailability of a VC in the institution. “Many of us have borrowed too much and have to appeal to members of the university community for financial assistance,” one of the non-academic staff said. Another staff said, “I depend on my salary. If it doesn’t come then I am in trouble like now. I even pity the students more. I wonder what they will be doing at home.” Also, during a meeting of the academic staff last Wednesday, some lecturers raised the alarm over the non-payment of their salaries. When contacted on Saturday on the telephone, the Public Relations Officer of the OAU, Mr. Biodun Olarewaju, explained that there was no one to issue directive to the University’s Bursar for salaries payment. He said, “I think that has to do with what is on ground. It is because there is no one at the helms of affairs for now. There is no one to issue instruction to the bursar to process documents for salaries payment. “The dignity of labour will not make our workers beg for money. I disagree that they are begging for money to survive. The Registrar and other principal officers cannot issue directive for salary payment because the finances of the university is not in their care.” Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr. Caleb Aborisade, when contacted said, “I am not commenting on that.” Attempt to reach Chairmen of Non-academic Staff Union of Universities and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Comrades Wole Odewunmi and Adewole Oketunde proved abortive. They refused to pick several calls put across to there telephones.