ASUU, KUST at loggerhead *KNSG intervenes
*Management refutes union’s claims
By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi
Kano State Government has pledged to mediate between the management of Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil and the institution’s Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) on their grievances.
The state Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure stated this when she received the executive members of ASUU branch of the university in her office.
She maintained that government or her ministry was not aware about the intention of the management to increase registration fees to the students, adding that the government was not happy about the issue, assuring to intervene into the matter.
Dr. Bunkure implored the union to withdraw the issue of ultimatum of the industrial action and allow the ministry to do its best with a view to having a lasting solution.
Earlier, the chairperson of the union, Comrade Muhammad Sani Gaya had said that they were at the office of the commissioner to inform her about the problems militating against the development of the university for possible intervention.
He said the union had conducted its congress meeting on January 16, 2020 and resolved to tackle the issues that hindered the development of the university and its staff welfare.
According to him, the issues include proposal of hike in registration fees, pension matters and non-payment of 50 per cent PG Study Grant among others.
Comrade Gaya called on the government to take measures on their request or rather the union would embark on a total and comprehensive strike action as contained in a statement from the spokesperson of the ministry, Malam Sunusi Abdullahi Kofar Na’isa.
In a related development, the attention of the university has been drawn to a press release issued recently by its ASUU branch dated January 30, 2020 which was carried by a section of the media.
A statement issued to media houses in Kano, including The Triumph, by the Head of Information and Public Relations Unit of the university, Malam Sa’idu Abdullahi Nayaya explained that in the said release, the union claimed to have reviewed what it called critical issues affecting the survival of the institution to include non-payment of backlog of earned academic allowances among others.
It said: “The university management will like to categorically state that Kano State Government as proprietor of the university has been making releases of funds (for instance N774 million for accreditation), prompt payment of salaries and wages of staff (N2.6 billion annually) and as well undertook other developmental projects (both academic and physical).
“On the claim that the university solely depends on TETFund for the provision of needed infrastructure, we want to observe that TETFund was established to undertake such mandates to support tertiary education in all public institutions.
“The management of the university should be appreciated for its zeal in attracting high impact, special and zonal interventions to the university which led to the initiation and completion of many projects.
“With regards to the Dangote Student Female Hostel that was gutted by fire, the public may wish to note that the university management swiftly provided alternative hostel accommodation to cater for the teeming students in the affected building.
“As the building was constructed and donated by the Chancellor, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON, the university management has since sent the report of a Technical Committee, including Bill of Quantity for possible consideration. In addition, same was forwarded to the Visitor.”
It added that the university has also purchased laboratory equipment worth millions of Naira for use during practicals, saying that it also makes periodic releases of funds to departments, directorates and its other units.
On the issue of procurement of vehicles for the principal officers, the statement said they were purchased in accordance with the laid down rules and guidelines as approved by the university’s Governing Council.
According to the statement, the university management has made payments of most of the claims of the members of staff on the availability of funds, giving examples of N198 million given as Postgraduate Research Grant to academic staff and N200 million as Hazard Allowance for non-teaching staff.
“Hence, it is noteworthy that the research grant for academic staff was fully paid on Monday, January 27, 2020,” the statement hinted.
On the alleged attempt by the university to increase registration fees, the statement categorically stated that fees are not static, but subject to review.
“As such, it is in that direction that the Senate of the university approved for the review of fees charged (between N21,500 and N23,200) by the university which is the lowest compared to all other universities in the country,” it explained.
It added: “On the overall, the university is determined to provide conducive, harmonious and peaceful atmosphere for the attainment of academic standards and that the unions are hereby urged to join hands with the university management to realize its vision which is to be an international center of excellence.”
“The management will therefore remain resolute, focused and decisive in attaining this goal,” it concluded.