The Nigerian senate on Wednesday urged the federal government to immediately find a solution bedeviling the continued closure of Ladoke Akintola Univeristy of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso in Oyo State.
It also advised both the Federal and state governments to find a way of resolving the ownership of the university with a view to preventing the re-occurrence of such a long closure that affects academic calendar of the university.
Senate’s resolutions were sequel to a motion: “Urgent need for the Federal Government to intervene in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology imbroglio in order to save the future of the innocent youths”, sponsored by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai and 40 others.
Senator Buhari, while leading debate on the motion during Wednesday’s plenary, recalled that LAUTECH was established in Oyo State in April 1990 to cater to inadequate tertiary education in the state, but added that Osun was created out of Oyo the following year, thus “trapping the university in a dilemma of having two separate parents thereby making it a shared responsibility of both states”.
He, however, decried that LAUTECH, which “hitherto had the reputation of being the best state-owned university in the country, now had nothing to her credit than the reputation of being the most strike-ridden university in the country as the university cannot escape an academic year without going on strike for 10 months or more, due to persistent non-payment of salaries of members of staff”.
Senator Buhari said the senate was worried that the university is currently in the middle of a strike which has crippled its activities for over a year due to the inability of the parent states to provide N4billion to pay accumulated salaries and arrears of staff members, thereby leaving over 3, 000 staff to wallow in poverty.
Similarly, he said that “careers of over 34, 000 students of the university are currently under jeopardy turning them to a social miscreants and leaving the parents who have labored to give their wards quality education languishing in pains and agonies for no fault of theirs.
“The current pitiable situation of LAUTECH has pathetically shown that the continuous joint-ownership in the management of the affairs of the university by the parent states is difficult and it has become necessary for the federal government to intervene and review this nature of ownership”, he requested.
In their contributions, Senators Olugbenga Ashafa, Monsurat Sunmonu, Jibrin Barau, and Babajide Omoworare, stressed the need for federal government to provide a lifeline for the university so as to further promote science and technology in the country.
On the contrary, Senator Bernabas Gemade said every state should find means of sustaining their universities in order not to lay a bad precedence for other states to follow, adding that “if the federal government should be made to pay the initial N4billion, many states will be abandoning their responsibilities”.
In his remarks, the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki urged the Oyo and Osun States to save the students’ future by urgently resolving the problem that led to the protracted strike.