ASUU threatens showdown over FUTA staff school privatisation

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) Chapter, on Thursday, threatened showdown with the management of the institution over the privatisation of the institution’s Staff Primary School and the renaming of the school.

Speaking on behalf of the union, during a Press Conference held in Akure, Ondo State capital, the ASUU chairman, Dr Bola Oniya, alleged the management of the institution of insensitivity to the plight and welfare of the school.

Oniya, who specifically pointed an accusing finger to the school authorities, also alleged the authorities of administration recklessness and gross misconduct over the sack of 44 staff of the school on January 4, 2016 and recruiting 18 new staff to replace them at the institution primary school.

According to ASUU chair, the sack of the 44 teachers at the Staff Primary School was a breach of agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU, describing it as a direct disregard for the welfare of the staff of the institution.

Oniya lamented that the action of the school management had since made over 900 pupils of the school “to become Internally Displaced Pupils (IDPs) by the university council and its decision to change the school appellation to FUTA Model Primary School.”

He explained that the school was established primarily to take care of the welfare of the staff of the institution saying “the school was established for the children of staff who are now Internally Displaced Pupils (IDPs).

“These actions, the union protested, were in contravention to the 1992-2009 Federal Government and ASUU agreements for the welfare of its staff, which stipulate that children of staff of universities shall be entitled to free tuition in the staff primary school.”

He noted that other federal universities across the country did not take similar steps and said “It is only in FUTA that the staff of the primary school has been sacked in Federal Universities in Nigeria. Other Vice Chancellors received the same memo but we wonder why the interpretation was different with FUTA council?

“Despite the closure, the administration went ahead to recruit 18 new staff for the primary school in the same month and the latter have been enjoying regular salary from the university for the past eight months without doing any job,” the union said.

According to ASUU, “You may call it fraud, administrative recklessness, impunity or whatever. We really wonder where the money is coming from in this era of TSA. As if that was not enough, the latest in the scheme of a well rehearsed script is the renaming of the school.

“Hitherto, the school was known as FUTA Staff Primary School, but the administration with council approval has renamed it FUTA Model Primary School, tactically removing staff from the name.

“Was council misled to approve this without input from congregation? Is there any conspiracy in these schemes? For emphasis, the infamous memo neither directed the Vice Chancellors to privatise, commercialise nor rename the staff primary schools.”

The union, however, warned parents and guardians against registering their children at the FUTA Model School as students are preparing to resume for the 2016/2017 academic session, and called on the university authorities to recall all the 44 sacked workers.

The union also called for the reversal of the name of the school while all the salaries paid to the 18 staff recruited illegally in January 2016 should be refunded, saying the union will take action against the school management if it failed to retrace its steps.

“We therefore call on the general public to stay away from this school until all pending issues are resolved,” urging relevant agencies to “investigate the action of council on this matter for wasting scarce resources in paying people who do not work,” he said.