Ex-VC, 88 former Wesley University workers demand payment of outstanding salaries, entitlements

Former acting vice-chancellor of Wesley University, Ondo town, Ondo State, Professor William Olu-Aderounmu; and 88 former staff members, including an 83-year-old professor, Emmanuel Abiodun Fayose, have demanded the payment of outstanding salaries and entitlements owed by the institution between 2014 and 2019.

The former university workers made the demand at a press conference held in Ibadan, Oyo State, saying failure to effect the payment would leave them with no other option than to seek legal redress.

Made up of former academic, administrative and professional staff, they lamented that the university had attributed its failure to pay the entitlements since 2014 to difficulties posed by the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.

Speaking through their lawyer, Mr Femi Aborisade of the Abope Chambers, the aggrieved former staff said they were forced to bring the matter “before the court of the public” because the university had repeatedly failed to pay the money.

In an address on the occasion, Aborisade said, “The gravamen of the case of our clients is that whereas Wesley University, Ondo, employed them individually at various times and they worked for Wesley University, Ondo conscientiously with utmost performance throughout the period of their employment, the university has refused to pay their earned but unpaid entitlements, which the university had been owing them before their disengagement, contrary to the contracts of employment and in spite of the intervention of several bodies, particularly the National Universities  Commission (NUC).”

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According to Aborisade, in its letter to the vice-chancellor of the university dated July 19, 2018, the NUC was compelled, by its findings, to threaten the constitution of a visitation panel to determine the viability of the university on the ground of the lingering issue of non-payment of salaries.

“It is also the case of our clients that Wesley University, Ondo has not remitted the pension deducted from their salaries, including the employer’s statutory contributions to their individual Pension Fund Administrators,” he added.

In his remarks, the former acting vice-chancellor of the university, Professor William Olu-Aderounmu, said: “There is no university in the country today that is owing as much as Wesley University, Ondo owes currently.

“There was a time the university took a loan of N500 million. One would think that the university would have set aside at least N200 million to pay the former staff as a way of placating them.”

A former dean, College of Social and Management Sciences, Professor Adebowale Abiodun, who put the total amount owed the staff at N151,271,925.31, said the 89 former staff represent about three-quarter of all the former staff being owed, including the pioneer vice-chancellor, former acting VC and second bursar of the university.

He said the salaries owed covered 2014 to 2020, and that the number of months owed the staff is between five to 29 months.

On his part, 83-year-old Professor Fayose said he resigned after settling the case of a young lecturer of the institution who was about to commit suicide because a university where he was pursuing a doctoral programme wanted to deny him graduation as a result of a humongous debt the lecturer was owing the university.

He noted that in order to avoid being called a murderer, he had to resign (from WUO).

However, efforts to get the school’s management to respond to the issue were unsuccessful as several calls made to the registrar of the university, Mrs Chioma Obasi, were not picked.

When contacted on phone, the spokesperson of the school, Mr Mcnezer Faseun, declined to comment on the development, saying “I don’t have a reaction to it. Thank you. I’m a journalist and I don’t have any reaction to that. I don’t just have any reaction.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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