Unpaid Entitlements: Lecturers’ Withdrawal From Postgraduate Programmes On Course – UNIBEN ASUU

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) University of Benin (UNIBEN) Chapter on Thursday vowed to sustain its withdrawal of services from the postgraduate program of the University.

The lecturers’ withdrawal was to press home its demand for payment of outstanding entitlements for postgraduate teaching and postgraduate supervision.

The ASUU UNIBEN Chapter noted that the suspension of teaching in the postgraduate programme of the University of Benin is still in force until all already earned honoraria for postgraduate teaching, postgraduate supervision, and postgraduate internal examination owed within the tenure of the current university administration are fully paid.

A statement by the ASUU UNIBEN Chairman, Ray Chikogu, and secretary, Success Abusomwan, said after close to five years of dialogue with the current UNIBEN administration on the payment of honoraria for postgraduate teaching and supervision, the union resolved and directed the withdrawal of ASUU members from any form of involvement/engagement in the postgraduate programme of the institution.

According to ASUU, their decision is with the approval and backing of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Union.

The UNIBEN ASUU also expressed displeasure that while the university administration paid debts in billions owed by previous administrations to contractors, it flatly decided not to do the same for debts owed to colleagues by previous administrations for postgraduate teaching and supervision.

The statement read in part, “Please recall that on Friday, the 14th of June, 2024, the Congress of our Branch, after close to five (5) years of dialogue with the current Administration of the University of Benin on the payment of honoraria for postgraduate teaching and supervision, resolved and directed the withdrawal of members of the Union from any form of involvement/engagement in the postgraduate program of the University of Benin, with the approval and backing of the National Executive Council (NEC) of our Union.

“Following our decision, the Branch Chairman of our Union was informed on Thursday, the 27th of June, 2024, of the release of the sum of N50m by the University Administration, out of a total sum of N109m (being 20% of accruals from the tuition fee component only of the totality of fees and charges generated via the postgraduate program) as both administrative expenses for Departments and honoraria for teaching and supervision in the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 postgraduate academic sessions.

“The leadership of our Branch has observed with dismay and informed the University Administration accordingly, the non-mention of honoraria for the 2019/2020 postgraduate session. This is despite the fact that the current University Administration had decided to pay only entitlements that fell due to our members during its tenure. As we speak, the University Administration has refused to make any comment on the outstanding honoraria for the 2019/2020 session which ran squarely within its tenure.

“The Union wishes to restate its displeasure that while the University Administration paid debts in billions owed by previous Administrations to contractors, it flatly decided not to do the same for debts owed to colleagues by previous Administrations for postgraduate teaching and supervision. It is against this background that the Union notes, with sadness, that the attempt to further deny our members their hard-earned entitlements for the 2019/2020 session is unfair, uncharitable, and diametrically at variance with the emphatic assurances given to our Union by the current University Administration.

“We resolved, with the approval of NEC, to withdraw our involvement/participation/engagement in the postgraduate program of the University of Benin until all already earned honoraria for postgraduate teaching, postgraduate supervision, and postgraduate internal examination owed within the tenure of the current University Administration are fully paid and, thereafter, a clearly defined structure for the administration of the postgraduate program and remuneration of academic staff is negotiated and agreed upon between the Administration of the University of Benin and ASUU UNIBEN to forestall another incidence of the interruption of the postgraduate program that may arise from the accumulation of unpaid entitlements to members in the near or distant future.

“As it stands, the conditions precedent for the suspension of our withdrawal from the postgraduate program are far from being met, as only about less than a third of the obligation of the University Administration to our members has been fulfilled. Besides, we do not have the power to suspend the action without recourse to NEC from which we derived the authority to embark on it in the first place.”

The Union added that the implication of the foregoing is that, “our resolution to stay off the postgraduate program of the University of Benin is still in force.”

The ASUU UNIBEN leadership urged its members not to participate, in any form, in postgraduate teaching, postgraduate supervision, postgraduate seminars, postgraduate examinations, and postgraduate board meetings.

The Union further commended all members for standing up and speaking with one voice on the matter and saluted the resolve and steadfastness of everyone, saying, “We have made some progress, but it is not yet uhuru.”

Culled from Guardian Nigeria

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