FUTA lifts suspension on protesting staff, union leaders

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The management of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, says it has lifted the indefinite suspension placed on 23 of its staff, including three Union leaders in the aftermath of a protracted conflict between it and the unions.

The union members, of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, and Non Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, had launched an attacked on the Vice Chancellor, Adebiyi Daramola, calling on his removal as VC.

They had earlier instigated a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleging fraud and other illegalities in the management of the university.

The EFCC, acting on the petition, invited Mr. Daramola and other top management staff for questioning.

But the unionists vowed to continue their protest by refusing to return to work, the action which elicited a reaction from the management in the form of the suspension of the 23 staff.

The Registrar, Modupe Ajayi, while issuing the suspension letter last week, alleged that the affected staff members had been disturbing academic activities on the campus.

She named the affected workers as Dele Durojaye, Mike Opirijit, Remi Egunjobi, Bunmi Ayo -Alafe, Felix Adunbi, Obe Rotimi, Aladesuyi Ajoke, Philip Jayeoba, Akanji Justinah, Bayo Aladerotohun, Adefolarin Adesida and Ruth Bakare.

Other include M.P. Faola, S. Arokoyu, J.S. Asante, Thomas Aina, Nelson Njoku, A.E. Omoraka, O.R. Bello, O.M. Fagbamiye-Akinwale and Mathew Fayiwole.

But a statement on Tuesday by the Head of Information and Protocol unit of the institution, Adegbenro Adebanjo, said the lifting of the suspension was in line with the decision of the Governing Council.

He said the letter lifting the suspension was addressed to the affected staff, copies of which were sent to the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission; Director, Tertiary Education, Federal Ministry of Education; the National Presidents of SSANU, NAAT and NASU.

He said the letter, which was signed by Mrs. Ajayi states that, “Council decided that the Union Leaders and other staff suspended should be recalled by the University Management and that members of the Union should resume work immediately.”

“Accordingly, I write on behalf of the Governing Council to recall you and other members of the Union who were suspended.

“Council took the decision to lift the suspension and order the payment of the October and November Salaries to the affected staff as part of its holistic intervention to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the Institution.”

Mr. Adebanjo said the letter also announced the setting up of a hig- powered committee comprising members drawn from the broad spectrum of the university.

“The committee’s main task is to address the crisis in an in-depth and holistic manner and provide the platform for further dialogue in order to achieve peace,” the letter read.

“The Committee members will be drawn from the Senate, representatives of the alumni, ASUU, SSANU, NASU, NAAT and the Students Union.”

However, the Chairman of SSANU, Dele Durijaye, said he was yet to receive any communication on the lifting of the suspension from the management.

“Officially, I am not aware of the lifting of the suspension,” he said.

“As I speak to you, the union is yet to get any letter from the management, I am just hearing from you now.”

He said the reports on the suspension of the workers were still very much in the media, particularly on radio, adding that there was nothing concrete to show anything had changed.

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