Academic activities at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) were recently brought to a halt by the protesting Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU last week over what they described as the weaponisation of hunger to members.
The group also vehemently rejected the casualization of academics by the Federal Government through the prorata payment of half salaries to their members.
The body in their large numbers chanting sungs, carrying placards with incriptions “ASUU will not give up on the struggle, Aluta Continuah”, “Nigeria University should attract forign students and lecturers”, “Buhari implemented Nimi Brigg’s Panel recommendation. That is our stand”. “We don’t like strikes, FG is responsible”, amongs others marched round the campus.
The protesters made up both female and male members including former ASUU chairsons on the institution proceeded to the office of the Vice Chancellor of the institution where they handed over their demands for unward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari for prompt action.
Leading the protest, the Chairperson of ASUU in FUTO, Comrade Chinedu Ihejirika urged the Federal Government to stop forthwith the weaponization of hunger to whip academics and pay them their withheld 7 months salaries.
The Chairperson also urged the Federal Goverment to honor their agreement and stop the No work no pay anti labour rule for the interest of peace.
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While he appealed to the Federal Government to stop the humiliation of academics who are generators of knowledge in the country, Ihejirika urged them to use the first ever developed and home grown payment platform known as UTAS to pay University teaching staff.
The ASUU FUTO however demanded for the funding of revitilization of Nigerian Public Universities to ensure improved infrastructure, conducive teaching and learning environment as well as student staff accommodation.
He regretted that rather than the Federal Government address the contentious issues, she has through her numerious agencies resorted to heavy blackmail , falsehood and weaponization of hunger by withholding the salaries of there members and dragging them to court.
The group used the protest to demand for payment of arrears or Earned Academic Allowance EAA as well as deployment of University Transparency Accountability Solution which addresses the peculiarities of Academic Staff in Universities.
The leader of ASUU called for renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement which has to do with improved condition of service for members.
Receiving the protesting ASUU members, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics Prof. Godferey Nwandikom onbehalf of the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri FUTO, Prof. Nnena Otti assured them that he would deliver their message to the Vice Chancellor who will in turn forward same to the appropriate authority.