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KOGI: No respite for Gov Bello as ASUU drags him to court over ban, sack of 120 lecturers

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Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has been dragged to court by the Kogi State University (KSU) chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the ban on union activities within the university and sack of 120 of its members.

The development was disclosed to newsmen on Sunday by KSU acting chairman, Dr Daniel Aina, who said that the union had no other option than resort to the courts since every attempt it had made to reconcile with the governor proved abortive.

“The government of Kogi State, the governing council and management of Kogi State University, Anyigba, have taken steps which violate our fundamental human right and flouted the rules and regulations governing our contractual intercourse with the University. We thought it is common knowledge that proscription of a trade union is beyond the jurisprudence of an Executive Governor.

“We have given time for this error to be corrected. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) made an attempt to wade into the matter, highlighting its illegality, but it was rebuffed. Twice we were at the office of the Honourable Minister for Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige in his bid for reconciliation but, the Government of Kogi State never showed up.

“ASUU has made a request to have audience with the Governor of Kogi State in a bid to finding a common ground for reconciliation, which was equally dishonored out rightly.

“It must be noted that while ASUU was in a protracted strike of “seven months”, no move was ever made by the Government of Kogi State or the Governing Council to reach a common ground.

“It was always either injunction or instruction to resume work without any pragmatic steps to resolve the issues at stake. To us, this does not portray responsible leadership,” Aina said.

Regretting that some of the union members who found themselves in management positions are now working against the interest of the union members, Aina said that the legal action was the only option available for KSU to remedy the situation.

“ASUU has gone to court to seek redress of the contentious issues to wit: the Proscription of ASUU KSU, Anyigba and the termination of the appointment of 120 academic staff members of Kogi State University, Anyigba.

“It is pathetic and unfortunate that taking a cursory look at the list of the purportedly sacked lecturers, identifying the courses they teach, the reallocation of such courses and identifying those who are assigned to teach those courses, it is crystal clear that the ‘one ready to kill has met the one ready to die’ while not knowing that there is no one to bury..

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“KSU, Anyigba has degenerated almost beyond the pre-2005 era. Unethical practices are done with imminent colossal damage in an effort to create the impression that all is well within the system. Unqualified persons (Technologists, members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and other non-teaching staff) are being co-opted to teach courses and supervise student projects.

“In several departments, postgraduate programmes have folded up completely and where there seems to exist, they are being handled by unqualified persons; where a number of Ph.D and master’s degree students did their external defenses without the knowledge of their major supervisors,” he said.