By Jethro Ibileke
Protesting staff members of Edo State-owned Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, on Wednesday dumped a coffin at the main gate of the University along the Benin-Auchi Road.
The protest which have been on for three consecutive days is being carried out by both academic and non-academic workers who laid siege at the University main gate in protest against alleged non-payment of salaries, maladministration, intimidation and victimisation of workers by the Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sonnie Adagbonyin.
The aggrieved protesters inscribed on the coffin “rest in peace Odiase [Ambrose, acting Registrar] Adagbonyin [acting Vice Chancellor], Osakue [Austin, a member of Special Intervention Team] and Adagbonyin must go”.
The protesters who sang solidarity songs accused and slammed Prof. Adagbonyin and Osakue for feeding the state government and the public with blatant lies that things are going well in the university.
This is even as they berated the Vice Chancellor for selective payment of salary, victimization and oppression of staff members of the state owned tertiary Institution.
Reports have it that substantial number of workers (academic and non-teaching) have not been paid salaries for 13 months now while some are being owed 7 to 10 months.
The protest which broke out in the earlier honours of Monday February 20, 2023, has attracted the attention of the Iruekpen division of the Nigeria Police, leading to a running battle between the protesting workers and the police.
During Tuesday demonstration, the spokesperson of the workers, Prof. Eunice Omozejele, lamented that many of her colleagues have died suddenly as a result of lack of money to pay for their medical bills.
Prof. Omozejele insisted that the Special Intervention Team (SIT) which was set up by Governor Godwin Obaseki to exercise the full functions of the Governing Council of the school is alien to the university system.
The spokesperson who queried the academic qualifications of the head of the SIT, accused the body of cherry picking the workers to pay and those to be left out for no justifiable reason.
Prof. Adagbonyin and Mr. Odiase could not be easily reached for their reactions but Mr. Osakue refused to answer several calls on his mobile phone.