OYO STRIKING STAFF PROTEST, SEEK LAWMAKERS’ INTERVENTION
STRIKING staff of tertiary institutions owned by Oyo State Government has sought the intervention of the state House of Assembly in the impasse with the government over the restoration of 100 subventions and payment of salary arrears running between seven and fifteen months.
This formed the basis of a protest of the affected staff led by Chairman, Joint Action Committee of the five trade unions of the six Oyo State-owned tertiary institutions, Mr Babatunde Adeniyi, to the House of Assembly, on Tuesday.
Backed by staff bearing placards with inscriptions like, “We are suffering, our people are dying, please pay our salaries, Oyo State tertiary institutions workers plead with you; We’ve been earning 25% salary for 15 months, pay our 100% salary, Governor Ajimobi, do you take 25% salary too?,” Adeniyi said that there was no going back on the four weeks old strike until their demands were met.
Speaking, Adeniyi chided the stance of the state government that it only gave subvention as support or grants, noting that the state deducted 100 percent pay as you earn tax upfront contrary to the no tax deduction requirement for the release of grants or support.
The protest coincided with a matter of urgent public importance moved by Honourable Afeez Adeleke of Iseyin/Itesiwaju constituency at Tuesday’s plenary, calling on the executive to pay all outstanding arrears of the six state-owned tertiary institutions.
Noting several resolutions since 2016 when the subvention was reduced to 25 percent, the Assembly called on the executive to make provisions for the payment of 100 percent subvention to the institutions.
Adeleke, who is Chairman, House Committee on Education, Science and Technology, said the appeal had become expedient owing to the profoundly negative effects of the reduction in subvention on education sector of the state, especially in tertiary institutions.
Adeleke, who spoke after meeting with the staff unions, assured that the assembly would work with the executive arm, and especially call on the Permanent Secretary and Commissioner for finance, Accountant General with a view to restoring 100 percent subvention.
Meanwhile, the Assembly has stepped down the “vote of no confidence” slammed on State Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela, over his conduct at its November 23, 2017, plenary.
This followed the consideration of a letter of apology sent by Olowofela to the Assembly with ref number, Edu1691/TI/15, captioned: “Re: School Feeding programme.”
Speaker of the Assembly, Honourable Micheal Adeyemo lauded Olowofela’s demonstration of maturity and honesty, adding that the Assembly had been vindicated by the apology letter.
The letter read in parts, “May I refer to the 23 November 2017 proceeding before the Oyo House of Assembly and first express my sincere apologies to the Speaker and members of the Oyo House of Assembly for what happened when I appeared before the House with officials of my ministry.”
“I hereby withdraw any negative innuendoes the House might have read into my comments. I hold the House in high esteem and will not say or do anything to undermine the integrity and powers of the House.”
Responding on when the main issue of investigation into school feeding programme would be addressed, Adeyemo said, “we will write the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, through the business committee, which is responsible for drawing up the activities of the house, then they will write to the ministry and we will find another time to invite them.”
The Oyo State Meat and Abattoir Regulatory Authority and Connected Purposes Bill 2017 was also passed into law at the day’s sitting.