Workers’ unions in Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions, including the Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), yesterday, disrupted resumption activities on the various campuses.
The workers, under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP), and the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) were protesting against non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage by the government.
The aggrieved workers alleged that the government had implemented the minimum wage for other workers in the state, wondering why those in tertiary institutions were sidelined.
At LASU, the workers blocked the institution’s entrance gates, preventing the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, members of staff, and the returning students from entering.
Pleas by the VC and management staff to the protesting workers to open the gates were rebuffed as the unions insisted that enough notices were issued to the government.
It was a similar scenario at LASPOTECH as the aggrieved workers barred their members from resuming for work.
The state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Olufunmilayo Sesi-Akinsanmi, who is a member of LASU SSANU, said the union held various meetings with the government on the matter but the parties could not agree.
She said the union was in support of workers’ decisions and that the national leadership of NLC also sanctioned it.
Also, Chairman, LASPOTECH SSANIP, Seye Ero-Philips, said apart from the protest against the minimum wage, the union is demanding the release of the white paper on the visitation panel report earlier submitted to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
When contacted, Fagbohun said the management was already in talks with the unions and assured that normalcy would be restored.
MEANWHILE, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, has urged calm from the protesting unions.
In a statement, he said with the funds being pumped into the schools by the government, the management of each institution should be able to pay workers.
He said that LASU, like other ministries, departments, and agencies, collects N450,000,000 monthly as subvention from the government.
He said the government expects the institutions to be responsible in the application of the funds.
“We must also have it at the back of our mind that LASU has internally-generated revenue, and it’s not accountable to the government on how the same is expended.
“Aside the subvention, the government is also responsible for the infrastructural development in this same institution and other ancillary things, including payment for accreditation exercise for which the last one costs government close to N500 million.
We expect that the management of these institutions pays up their members of staff salaries to avoid a situation that looks more like deliberate sabotaging of the efforts of the Governor Sanwo-Olu-led administration.”