The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma chapter, says the body has lost 10 of its members since the strike began due to alleged non-payment of salaries and other welfare issues yet to be addressed.
Cyril Onogbosele, chairman, ASUU Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma chapter, attributed the death of the workers to over 19 months of unpaid salaries which, according to him, has made it difficult for members of the union to meet financial obligations to their respective families.
Onogbosele stated this when he played host to Emmanuel Osodeke, president of ASUU who led other national delegates of the union in solidarity protest to the institution in Ekpoma, the headquarters of Esan West council of Edo State.
“Since this strike started, we have lost something in the neighbourhood of 10 lecturers. Some of them we know specifically cannot afford medical care.
“Workers have been denied their salaries for 19 months now. Many of us are dying as a result of that. We cannot meet our financial obligations to our families because of unpaid salaries,” Onogbosele said.
The ASUU chairman listed some of their demands to include, “revitalisation of public universities. We want better conditions of service, infrastructural development, university autonomy, poor funding and unpaid allowance should be addressed. That is what the strike is all about.”
He said the protest was to draw the attention of the people of Edo State so that they can prevail on Governor Godwin Obaseki to address the issues.
Emmanuel Osodeke, on his part, said the national body was in solidarity with the Ekpoma chapter of the union over the banning of union activities by the governor, adding that Obaseki doesn’t have the power to proscribe union activities in public universities.
“The governor did not establish the union. Therefore, he doesn’t have the power to ban the union. It is not within his jurisdiction. It is on the exclusive list. ASUU is a properly registered union to operate anywhere in this country. He has no right”, he said.