The management of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State on Tuesday shut down the school after the lecturers in staged a protest over alleged unpaid salaries.
Under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), the lecturers claimed that they were being owed five month salaries by the institution’s management.
As a result of the demonstration, social and academic activities on the campus were grounded as the examinations scheduled to start on Tuesday could not hold.
Addressing journalists, the ASUP chairman in the institution, Mr Rafiu Ijawoye accused the management of the school of not paying attention to the welfare of his members.
Ijawoye alleged that the management refused to pay their backlog of salaries after allegedly receiving N1.7 billion from the state government, adding that the promotion exercise for lecturers of the Polytechnic had not been conducted since 2017.
“We decided to have a peaceful rally against the opposition and oppression of the school management on the issue of welfare of members,” he said.
“I’m bringing to the attention of the public the precarious situation and the danger looming in the polytechnic community.
“It is unfortunate that management is insensitive to the plight of the workers. We only believe that the system must move forward. This is a collective struggle because if accreditation for our courses were withdrawn as a result of non-payment of salaries, it will be a bad omen for the system.
“The governor has done his best in the last few months in bailing us out. Before the last accreditation exercise, the management was owing us about eight months salaries and the government released N1.7 billion for payment of arrears and other emoluments.
“But it was unfortunate that the management because of its selfish interest, withheld N500 million out of this money which could have reduced these salaries arrears. What did they use the money Mr. Governor gave them for?
“Aside that, 2017 and 2018 promotion is still hanging. We are not second class citizens and it is unfair of the management to withhold our promotion. It is not a privilege but our right. It is on that note that we are expressing our grievances.”
The ASUP chairman called on Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to appoint a substantive rector for the institution, saying that would save the system from collapse.
Meanwhile, the management in a statement issued by the Acting Registrar of school, Mr Sule Atiku, asked the students to vacate the school premises.
According to the statement, the decision was taken in order to prevent any break of law and order on the campus. The statement advised the students to vacate the campus latest Tuesday evening.