By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) have sent ‘ save our soul’ messages to President Muhammadu Buhari and the leaders of the National Assembly over their non inclusion as beneficiaries of the N23 billion Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) released last week to members of the union across the country.
The EAA was in partial fulfilment of the agreements between ASUU and federal government.
The Chairman of UNILORIN chapter of ASUU, Dr. Usman Adebimpe at a news conference in Ilorin on Monday expressed dismay that teachers of the institution who did not go on strike for 18 years were being deprived of an allowance meant to compensate those who worked while their counterparts who were perennially on strike were being paid.
He traced the latest development to an unholy alliance between the national ASUU and the ministry of education, alleging that the ministry and its parastatals have been hijacked by the national ASUU to the detriment of well meaning educationists.
The ASUU’s boss sought the intervention of the national assembly to forestall a situation where members of the branch would be pushed to the wall.
Adebimpe added: “After so many attempts at frustrating us and bringing us to their fold by force and not by dialogue, now they have now found an ally in the Federal ministry of education. As I talk to you now, the federal ministry of education has been taken over by ASSU national. I know I’m on record. Everywhere is now being controlled by ASUU national.
“To the extent that they now dictate who should be given the federal government approved earned academic allowance. So they shared N23 billion to ASSU by the federal government and they excluded two universities, ASUU of UNILORIN and ASUU of UNN and the excuse they gave when we began to fire from several angles was that it was because what we submitted was faulty.
“And we told them that it was a coincidence that the two universities that did not go on strike were the two universities that also submitted what they called faulty documentation and to the extent that to date nobody got to know about it.
“We have petitioned the President, the senate president and the speaker, House of Representatives. We are saying that the minister would be told that our members actually worked and they are the ones who actually qualified for the allowance because we actually earned it but the minister is now giving it to people who didn’t work so it is more or less a strike allowance.
“If that is the moral, we will not complain because we would not spoil the efforts we have been making since 2001. But since it is tagged earned allowance, and our members were working then, not now, but for the past 18 years, unbroken, I do not know who is a better earner of that allowance.
“Even if they now pay me tomorrow I have been traumatised, like my other colleagues. If we must continue in this order, then we have to seek protection from the public against the antics of the federal ministry of education and their cohorts.
“Our members are demoralised; they have been mounting pressure on us because they have been working for nine years graduating students at each session and yet they are the ones now to be denied this allowance. If things are not handled properly, only God knows what will happen because we may not be able to control them.
“Their intention is that we did not go on strike so we must be punished but we would not be pushed into that because otherwise we would have yielded to their call and lost the 18 year record we have now.”