LASU staff threaten resumption plans over minimum wage

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Protesters who are staff members of the Lagos State University (LASU) nearly disrupted the visit of legislators from the Lagos State House of Assembly on Friday.

The members of the house committee on education were on the Ojo main campus of the university on an assessment visit.

LASU is scheduled to resume academic activities for selected students next Monday for the first time since March the school was shut due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

But the workers insisted that they would not be party to the resumption moves if they were not paid in line with the minimum wage.

Last year, the Nigerian government in agreement with labour unions fixed N30,000 as the national minimum wage.

The protesters, led by Dr Ibrahim Bakare, made various solidarity chants in front of the Law Faculty during the visit, and alleged that LASU had not adequately taken care of the staff members irrespective of the relative peace pervasive.

They claimed that LASU workers were starving and that quite a number of the staff had lost their lives.

“We have done a lot of consultations to express our feelings on why LASU staff should enjoy the new minimum wage.

“Our counterparts in the ministries are enjoying the new minimum wage and unless it is paid, we will not allow the school to resume on Monday,” he said.

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While disclosing that they were having a robust management for the first time, Bakare said that the state government had not done enough for the staff, and warned parents not to release their children for resumption in the school on Monday.

All the unions in the institution came out to chant “no minimum wage, no resumption”.

The NLC Chairman, Ms Funmi Sessi was among the protesters.

Protest will not affect resumption

LASU spokesperson, Mr Ademola Adekoya assured the public that the protest will not affect plans for resumption.

He told EduCeleb.com that the guidelines that the university management earlier rolled out for resumption stands.

According to him, the staff members’ protest was not entirely a LASU affair as the issue of minimum wage affects other state owned tertiary institutions.

Officials of the state ministry of education did not immediately respond to enquiries on they are handling the threat to resumption moves.

Committee commends LASU

Chairman of the house Committee, Yinka Ogundimu, while speaking during the visit of the Committee to the institution, expressed satisfaction with the facilities put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the institution prepares for resumption on Monday 14th September.

“We are at the Lagos State University and we have moved round and see facilities there as the students are preparing to resume after the break for COVID-19.

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”We have seen the classrooms, the entrance of the school and the health centre and we can say that LASU is ready for resumption.

“We will look at the agitations of the Union on minimum wage, we will meet them and engage them and we want to call on the Special Adviser On Education to come in on the issue and we will inform the Speaker who would also intervene,” he said.

Ogundimu also congratulated the institution on its enlistment as the second best university in Nigeria by Times Higher Education.

“We are happy with the peace that has been reigning in LASU for some time now.

“We can now see new things happening in LASU because it is when there is peace that we can see progress. Nothing can be achieved without peace.

“We have heard good news happening on the campus and we praise the management for that,” he said.

Preparation ahead of resumption

Earlier during the visit, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, disclosed that the school had made adequate preparation for the school to resume with its final year students on Monday 14th September, 2020.

He said that LASU would be the first university to resume in Nigeria after COVID-19 break, and that the resumption will be on gradual phasing basis.

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“We did an audit of our facilities to know the number of spaces we have to maintain social distancing and this informed the gradual phasing.

“The final year students will resume on 14th September and receive lectures from Mondays to Fridays from 9 am to 3 pm daily.

“Postgraduates students (Masters and PhD) would also resume on Monday 14th September, but their lectures would hold strictly on weekends only,” he said.

Fagbohun revealed that every student had an identity card and that those who had lost theirs would be issued temporary ones.

“We have made provisions for hand washing and other facilities in the departments and faculties.

“If you are not supposed to come in at a time, we will not allow you to come in. We have given guidance on the regulations.”

“We have quality assurance committee which goes around with a check list of what is in place in our campuses across the state and they will still go round, when the students resume,” he said.

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