Prof. Adeniyi Gbadegesin, the Vice-Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, on Monday appealed to the striking lecturers of the institution to return to work.

Gbadegesin told journalists in Ogbomoso that the problem facing the university, jointly owned by Oyo and Osun, was “almost over as the owner state governments had pledged more commitment to fund it’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the institution was closed barely eight months ago as a result of industrial action by the academic staff of the institution.

NAN also reports that management of the institution had earlier announced that the university would re-open on Jan. 27 after eight months of closure, but the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), LAUTECH Chapter, refused to resume academic activities.

Gbadegesin said that the institution was being owed subvention arrears amounting to N7.1 billion by the owner state governments, with Oyo owing N1.8 billion, and Osun owing N5.3 billion.

“The N5.3 billion owed by Osun was from 2014 till date, while the N1.8 billion owed by Oyo was between 2015 and 2016.

“N296 million is our monthly subvention, Oyo pays from January to June, while Osun pays subvention from July to December every year,” he said.

The vice-chancellor commended Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State for initiating a meeting with the management and the university unions, which led to the payment of two months salaries.

“The union agreed with the governor at the meeting that the N250 million each to be paid by the owner states will not be enough for the payment of two months.

“They requested for additional N84 million which Gov. Ajimobi approved immediately.

“Oyo State Government has paid its N292 million, while the remaining N42 million from Osun will be paid any moment from now,” he said.

Gbadegesin said that the monthly wage bill of the institution on the average was N360 million, adding that they had been augmenting the payment with not less than N80 million.

Speaking on resumption, he said that many students had resumed and trying to settle their accommodation, while others were busy with the registration.

Gbadegesin said that in spite of the current economic challenge, Ajimobi had assured at the meeting that the agreement was tentative.

“The governor also promised to set aside some amount for the institution as soon as the state receives its share of the Paris Club excess fund,” the vice-chancellor said.

He said the institution could not be self-sustaining as a public university, adding that it needed regular subvention to function effectively.

Gbadegesin said the institution had set up a board for LAUTECH Ventures to boost its revenue, adding that the council has also agreed to establish an Institute of Software Engineering with Google Engineering.

The vice-chancellor, while acknowledging that the current hardship was due to the nation’s economic recession, said that he was yet to receive any directive on tuition fee increment.

“We are appealing to the owner state governments to continue funding the institution to achieve the dream of the founding fathers. We thank all our unions for their cooperation so far.

“I will like our striking lecturers to consider the interest of the students and return to work.

“The management and staff are determined to ensure the students get the best from the institution,” he said.

Gbadegesin also thanked parents for their concern and patience during the eight months strike.

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