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ASUU withdraws services in UNIBEN

ASUU withdraws services in UNIBEN

Barely 24 hours after students of the Ugbowo campus of the University of Benin, UNIBEN, protested over the lack of electricity and shortage of water in the institution, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, of the institution boycotted all academic activities at the postgraduate programmes.

DAILY POST reports that the union is putting on hold the rendering of any academic services to postgraduate students over alleged non-payment of entitlements amounted to N109 million.

A statement signed by the university’s ASUU chairman, Ray N. Chikogu and its secretary, Success O. Abusomwan, said the amount was 20 per cent accruals from the tuition fee component only of the totality of fees and charges generated via the postgraduate programme.

Chikogu said the 20 per cent is for both administrative expenses for departments and honoraria for teaching and supervision in the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 postgraduate academic sessions.

He added that the university authority only released N50 million out of the total debts.

He explained that the decision to withdraw their involvement, participation and engagement in the postgraduate programme of the university was approved by the National Executive Council, NEC, of the union.

According to him: “On Friday, June 14, 2024, the congress of our branch, after close to five years of dialogue with the current administration of the University of Benin on the payment of honoraria for postgraduate teaching and supervision, resolved and directed the withdrawal of members of the union from any form of involvement or engagement in the postgraduate programme of the University of Benin, with the approval and backing of the National Executive Council, NEC, of our Union.

“The Union wishes to restate its displeasure that while the University Administration paid debts in billions owed by previous administrations to contractors, it flatly decided not to do the same for debts owed colleagues by previous administrations for postgraduate teaching and supervision.

“It is against this background that the Union notes, with sadness, that the attempt to further deny our members their hard-earned entitlements for the 2019/2020 session is unfair, uncharitable, and diametrically at variance with the emphatic assurances given to our Union by the current University Administration.

“We resolved, with the approval of NEC, to withdraw our involvement in participation and engagement in the postgraduate programme of the University of Benin until all already earned honoraria for postgraduate teaching, postgraduate supervision, and postgraduate internal examination owed within the tenure of the current university administration are fully paid.

“And, thereafter, a clearly defined structure for the administration of the postgraduate programme and remuneration of academic staff is negotiated and agreed upon between the administration of the University of Benin and ASUU UNIBEN to forestall another incidence of the interruption of the postgraduate programme that may arise from the accumulation of unpaid entitlements to members in the near or distant future.

“As it stands, the conditions precedent for the suspension of our withdrawal from the postgraduate programme are far from being met, as only about less than a third of the obligation of the University Administration to our members has been fulfilled.

“The implication of the foregoing is that our resolution to stay off the postgraduate programme of the University of Benin is still in force. There should be no participation, in any form, in postgraduate teaching, postgraduate supervision, postgraduate seminars, postgraduate examinations, and postgraduate board meetings,” he said.

He commended members of the union for standing up and speaking with one voice on the matter, as well as their resolve and steadfastness, noting that they have made some progress.

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