THE leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has expressed concern over the protracted crisis rocking the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, leading to the shutdown of the institution for over nine months.
NANS President, Comrade Chinonso Obasi, speaking in Abuja when he hosted about 100 students of the institution, vowed to relocate the headquarters of NANS to LAUTECH in order to ensure sustained action for restoration of academic activities at the university.
He faulted the action of the two owner states, Oyo and Osun, for failing to meet their obligation in sustaining the funding of the institution he described as a “unique university in Nigeria.”
Obasi said: “Today, we have had a memorandum of understanding between NANS and the students of LAUTECH. The memorandum is that the crisis rocking the institution is going to be a struggle for NANS until normalcy is restored and full academic activities commence at the institution.
“My leadership is going to go into serious action, because all we need now is for LAUTECH to be reopened.
“The students are also making their demands. They have called on the Federal Government to take over the management of the university. At the moment, we share in their views and if I’m convinced that that is what the totality of students want, we will go along with them.
“I’m not a student of LAUTECH, but I was elected as the president of Nigerian students; so I will do what my students want me to do. We will soon convene a meeting of students and properly mobilise to relocate headquarters of NANS to LAUTECH until the institution is reopened to students,” Obasi said.
He also pledged to meet with the Minister of Education and other relevant stake holders on the demands of the students for the Federal Government to take over the affairs of the university.
Meanwhile, the President of Student Union Government (SUG) of LAUTECH, Comrade Solace Bakare, told Tribune Online, during the meeting with the NANS President that the closure of the university for over nine months has put the lives of over 35, 000 students of at various levels in the institution in great peril.
He said the students have petitioned the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and the National Universities Commission (NUC), to intervene in the crisis while also ensuring the Federal Government fully takes over the management of the university.
He said the students had earlier protested to the National Assembly on the need to ensure that legislative actions were taken to facilitate the takeover of the university from Oyo and Osun states.
Bakare, said: “LAUTECH Ogbomoso is an institution established in 1990 under the old Oyo State, but toady owned and funded by two states namely Oyo State and Osun State government as a result of creation of Osun from the old Oyo in 1991.
“This joint ownership marked the beginning of problems of the university. There have been series of industrial actions by staff unions of the institution over non-payment of salaries, allowances and arrears due to poor funding by the owner state governments. The recent one is the over nine months strike by staff unions without any genuine efforts by the owners of the university to resolve the crisis.
“We, therefore, appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria to take over the total control of the affairs and management of this higher citadel of learning and save the lives of over 35,000 students of the university,” he said.