The Acting Vice Chancellor of the Kwara State University, Malete, Professor Sakah Mahmud has called on staff unions in Nigerian Universities to seek alternative means of settling grievance, rather than resorting to strike actions.
Professor Mahmud gave this charge when the National and KWASU Executives of the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) paid him a courtesy visit at the Ilorin contact office of KWASU, on 6th of March 2020.
The University Don in his address emphasised that KWASU has since inception maintained a very stable academic calendar, describing the feat as a record the management and staff of the institution are very proud of and one the university wants to keep.
He lamented the incessant strike actions embarked upon by staff unions in universities across Nigeria, stating that these strikes are the bane of students receiving quality education in the country.
“Students are in the universities to be taught and their parents pay their fees so that they can be taught and they should be taught”, he said.
The Ag. Vice Chancellor maintained that students who are major stakeholders in any university end up bearing the brunt of these strike actions, stressing that progress in any society comes from thinking about alternatives and debating difficult ideas.
The National Coordinator of the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), Dr. Niyi Sunmonu in his response saluted the efforts of staff and management team of the University for maintaining an unbroken and stable academic calendar.
Dr. Sunmonu stated that CONUA was formed based on the realisation of some academics that the retrogression in the education system of this country is partly and substantially due to breaks in the academic calendar occasioned by strike action embarked upon by university unions.
He added that it is the aspiration of CONUA as a union to adopt different means of interacting with government and strikes should not be the only option when driving home their grievances. The Union has zero tolerance to strike actions he said.
In a related event, the National Coordinator of CONUA, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu has stated that its members will not be embarking on any strike actions on account of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
He made this known while addressing press men at a press briefing held after the conclusion of the 2nd National Stakeholders meeting of CONUA which took place on the 7th of March 2020 at the Ilorin Contact Office of Kwara State University.
While revealing that its members had been directed to enrol on the IPPIS platform he urged the Federal Government to provide seamless opportunities for those academics who might have missed the first enrolment opportunity.
He expressed the hope of CONUA members that the Federal Government will take the peculiarities of institutions into consideration in making payments of salaries.
Dr. Sunmonu explained that the 2nd stakeholders meetin discussed issues affecting the Union as well as the Nation also took reports from different branches into consideration.
Speaking on labour laws, he said CONUA is currently studying the on-going review exercise on labour laws and hopes to make presentation at the National Assembly when the bill is presented for public hearing.
He said further that CONUA condemns in its entirety the alleged proposition of TetFund to cancel all research grants, stating that the Union believes this step will retrogress this nation because no nation can develop beyond its Ivory Towers.
“No nation can develop beyond its capacity to conduct research and research cannot be conducted without funds” he said.
He urged the Government to make efforts at identifying the cases of abuse of TetFund grants and those connected to it and bring them to justice if it is established that they have mismanaged the funds to serve as deterrent to others.