The Acedemic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University(COOU) in Anambra state has said that its branch will continue to observe the total, comprehensive and indefinite industrial action declared by the National body.
This is even as the Vice Chancellor COOU, Prof Gregory Chukwudi Nwakoby through the Registra, Dr Mrs Ngozi E. Ezeibe had announced the resumption of academic activities for exiting students, including all final year students, second and third year students of faculty of pharmaceutical sciences for 2019/2020 session first semester examinations and second MBBS students of Basic Medical sciences for 2019/2020 session first semester examinations.
The statement directed all students to return to university on Monday, 21st September 2020.
At a press briefing at the ASUU COOU secretariat, Igbariam campus yesterday, the state chairperson, Prof Alphonsus Okey Aniebo insisted that their stand is to correct the impression in some qarters that COOU is on sympathy industrial action.
In a statement signed by Prof Aniebo and the secretary, Dr David O. Enibe,
ASUU COOU said members were affected by over 90 percent of the issues in contention namely: non payment of 19 months salary difference arrears, underfunding by the state government, renegotiatio of ASUU FG 2009 agreement which involves review of staff salaries etc.
“It is TETFund and NEEDS Assessment dependent as 90 percent of the infrastructural development in COOU comes from TETFund NEEDS Assessment which are products of ASUU’s years of struggle.
“There is total lack of infrastructure for online teaching and learning. Departments with large number of students do not have lecture halls to accommodate them, while maintenance of social distancing is not feasible.
“COOU is yet to introduce the differential increment in staff salaries as a result of the minimum wage. ASUU members spend an average of N2,000 daily on fuel to go to work.
“Total absence of retirement benefits as retirees are dying of abondonment in
COOU. The thought of retirement by any staff usually results to high blood pressure and associated sickness”,
they said, among other burning neglected issues.
The union said no amount of threat will deter members from continuing with the strike to get government do the needful in the public universities.
“ASUU COOU uses this opportunity to inform students that her members will not resume academic activities on September 21st 2020, and parents are advised to with hold their wards at home”, they added.
In reaction, the Vice Chancellor COOU, Prof Nwakoby yesterday in an interview accused some ASUU members of working to frustrate activies in the university, insisting that his mission is to move the institution forward.
Wandering why ASUU is blackmailing the authority, Prof Nwakoby said, “We are paying salaries and nobody is owed, every staff who is due for promotion has been promoted, they are collecting their various imprest for fuel and as a state university we are not running IPPIS.
“We are absolutely ready for students to resume. We have facilities for final year students to write their examinations, provided enough sanitizers, placed washing hand centres at various points, while the students are advised to provide their face masks”, adding that management would ensure strict observation of the Covid 19 protocols.
The ASUU after an emergency National Executive Council meeting on 23rd March ordered membes of the union to embark on total national strike to get govenment satisfactorily address matters of Earned Academic Allowance(EAA), conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN ASUU agreement, revitalization fund for public universities, proliferation of state universities among others. The agreement reached with the federal government over these issues was reaffirmed in the 7th February 2019 Memorandum of action(MOA).