Obaseki disowns mass retrenchment of workers at Ambrose Alli Varsity
By Jethro Ibileke
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has denied knowledge of letters of disengagement issued in the last couple of weeks to workers in Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, insisting that they are illegal, null and void.
The interim management of the University had reportedly sacked over 90 staff, (mostly senior staff), 20 of them academic staff, while the other 70 staff are non-academic.
But Obaseki, said he did not approve the retrenchment of the workers as his administration’s commitment to workers’ welfare in the university remains sacrosanct
The sack letters given to the affected staff members cited “repositioning the University” as reason for their disengagement.
One of the letters signed by the Acting Registrar, Ambrose Odiase and sighted by our correspondent reads:
“In repositioning the University, the Management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, writes to convey to you the decision of the Special Intervention Team ( S.I.T) of your disengagement from the services of the University with effect from March 10, 2023.
“You will be paid all your entitlements in line with the provision of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma Staff Regulations and Scheme of Service.
“By a copy of this letter, the Bursary Department is directed to process your entitlements, subject to your clearance of any indebtedness to the University.
“You are kindly advised to submit all University property(ies) in your possession to your Head of Department on the receipt of this letter.
“The Management of the University sincerely thank you for your past services and wish you success in your future endeavour.”
One of the affected staff who did not want his name mentioned in print, confirmed the development.
According to him, “…it is true that I was given a letter of disengagement in the disguise of repositioning the University.
“The truth is, it is because of the last protest embarked on by ASUU, NASU and SSANU, saying I was part of it. This is a true example of a government under the leadership of a tyrant.
“The government of Edo State under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki who refused to pay us for months is coming now to sack us for protesting for our rights. If it is not for the protest, what is our offense?” he victim queried.
It would be recalled that the 11-man Edo State House of Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Marcus Onobun in 2021 approved Governor Godwin Obaseki’s request to set up Special Intervention Team for the University.
The action was however resisted by the University’s branch of ASUU, NASU and SSANU, saying, the S.I.T. was aimed at sacking “the hard-working staff of the University.”
In one of one of its meeting in 2022, Benin Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), faulted Governor Godwin Obaseki, on the administration of the state-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, without Governing Council, describing the government’s idea as alien to university administration globally.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki has ordered an investigation of the alleged sack letters, while vowing that action would be taken swiftly on anyone culpable.
He assured that his government upholds the interest of the University workers and would continue to position the state as a suitable place to live and work.