In response to the prolonged halt in academic activities in Ebonyi State University following the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Governor David Umahi on Wednesday approved N500 million for immediate settlement of staff salaries.
He ordered that academic and non academic activities at the University should commence with effect from the same Wednesday.
The Governor further announced total suspension of the operations of both the ASUU and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities in the State-owned University.
The developments were part of the outcome of an enlarged meeting with members of the Governing Board and Management of the University at the new Governor’s Office, Centenary City, Abakaliki on Wednesday.
Recall that the University ASUU had been on strike over internal agitations by the lecturers prior to the national ASUU strike.
It was totally shut down in March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Umahi during the meeting directed the reopening of the institution from Wednesday, while salaries to only the workers who return and sustain performance of their duties should be paid.
The Governor and Visitor to the University commended the Management and the Governing Council for showing understanding to the policies and programmes of State Government, expressing support for all efforts made by the institution’s Management to increase its Internally Generated Revenue.
Umahi pronounced: “By the powers vested on me, I hereby suspend ASUU and NASU and other Unions except that of Students Union Government….
“By the powers vested on me as the Visitor of the University, I hereby order the reopening of the institution for Academic and Non-Academic activities from today 21st October 2020.
“I have directed the students to go back to classroom, I appeal to them for understanding.”
Governor Umahi pleaded with the Management of the institution to stagger the payment of school fees in response to the hardship posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, assuring that his administration would continue to assist the institution overcome its challenges.
Meanwhile, in a statement released later by the Commissioner for Education in the State, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima, he explained that the proscription of ASUU and NASU by the Governor was informed by the need to have smooth academic activities in the University, unhindered by such Union activities.
The release read in part: “In response to the concerns and call to forestall the prestige of EBSU by Students, Senior Academics, the University Management and Council; especially on the negative effects of the protracted ASUU strike on students and parents, the EBSU students (including freshers), parents and the general public are hereby informed as follows:
“That the Visitor of EBSU/ Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr Dr David Nweze Umahi FNATE, FNSE in accordance with the powers vested on him, has today Wednesday 21st October 2020 reopened Ebonyi State University for immediate commencement of academic and non academic activities.
“That in order to ensure that academic and non-academic union activities does not negatively affect the resumption of EBSU and commencement of academic/ non-academic activities, all Unions except the Students Union have been proscribed for the time being in Ebonyi State University.
“That all teaching and non-teaching staff are encouraged to resume normal University activities immediately.
“That all teaching and non-teaching staff shall be paid 80% of thier monthly outstanding salaries except those who refused to immediately commence work.
“Accordingly, the EBSU Management and SUG are encouraged to keep records of staff that complied and resumed work.
“That the Visitor/Governor of Ebonyi State His Excellency Engr Dr David Nweze Umahi FNATE FNSE has approved half a Billion Naira to EBSU to enable it pay 80% of salary of all staff in tandem with the condition in paragraph 4 above.
“That the Government of Ebonyi State ably led by His Excellency, Engr Dr David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE sincerely appreciate the sacrifices that EBSU staff are making at this challenging times of the State. As shown during the windfall of the Paris club fund to Ebonyi State.
“The leadership of Ebonyi State has also further promised to continue to show his magnanimity to EBSU staff and students.
“That in furtherance to this magnanimity, His Excellency, Engr Dr David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE has approved single digit 300 Million Naira loan to EBSU for the commencement of SME business to boost thier IGR.
“That the Visitor of EBSU/Governor of Ebonyi Statefurther approved and donated the Ebonyi State Mushroom farm and the Citrus farm to EBSU as part of effort to boost the IGR of Ebonyi State University.”
In attendance at the meeting were the State Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe; Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu; Deans of Faculties and Heads of Department among others.