Monday, September 14, 2020 5:53 pm
For students of Lagos State University, the excitement of returning to school for lectures after months of forced holiday as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was dampened on Monday morning.
The students had in obedience to the order of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu ordering reopening of tertiary institutions stormed the school early on Monday with the hope of resuming lectures or at least, begin the process of recommencement of learning.
Sanwo-Olu had announced that the tertiary institutions in the state be reopened on Monday, September 14. Students in 300 and 400 levels were expected to resume today (Monday) with other members of staff that had been away from work as result of the Coronavirus.
But as it turned out, members of the Academic Union of Universities and Non-Academic Staff Union had beaten to resumption, this time, not in the classroom, but at the gate, the only access to the expansive institution.
Unlike the students, the lecturers and the other workers were determined to ensure that academic activities did not take off in the institution; hence, they ensure that the gate was closed as early as 7am.
The two unions thus effectively stopped students and lecturers from gaining entrance. Also locked out was the Vice Chancellor, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun.
Speaking to reporters, the workers said they were protesting the non-payment of minimum wage by the institution. “We have shut down the school because of non-implementation of the minimum wage, among other issues like the Consequential Adjustment which has been on for close to two years,” LASU SSANU Chairman, Comrade Oseni Saheed said.
The workers claim the Lagos State Government had promised to pay them the minimum wage before the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. The management of LASU has not responded to the workers’ demand as at the time of filing in this story.
But the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Tokunbo Wahab said with N450 million monthly subventions from the government, the government expected the institutions to pay their staff.
“We must also have at the back of our mind that they have IGR which they generate and not accountable to government on how same is expended.
“Aside the subvention, the government is also responsible for the infrastructural developments (which include the recently approved 8,000 plus bed hostel in this same LASU) of the institutions and other ancillary things, including payment for accreditation exercise for which the last one cost the government close to N500 million.
“We expect that the management of these institutions pay up their staff salaries to avoid situations that looks more like deliberate sabotaging of the efforts of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration as we prepare for schools resumption this week,” he said.
Students will, however, hope that the management of the institution will work with the Lagos State Government to meet the demands of the workers to enable them resume academic activities.