Academic Activities At The University of Jos Have Been Paralysed As 1,100 Lecturers Embark On Annual Leave

Academic activities at the University of Jos (UNIJOS) have been paralysed for weeks as All of the university’s 1,100 lecturers have gone on their annual leave at the same time.

The leave, which commenced on May 2, was expected to last for 42 days, according to documents exclusively made available to the Daily Trust.

The vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Hayward Babale Mafuyai, who would be leaving office on June 23, would be succeeded by Professor Sebastian Seddi Maimako.

The lecturers proceeded on the controversial mass leave barely three months after they suspended their prolonged strike.

No official reason was given for why the lecturers commenced the leave.

But investigation revealed that it may not be unconnected with the frosty relationship between the lecturers and the outgoing vice-chancellor.
Professor Mafuyai’s tenure has been rocked by series strike by the lecturers and members of other associations in the university.

In one of the prolonged strikes, which lasted between September of 2015, and January this year, the aggrieved workers called for the implementation of an agreement on earned academic allowance from 2009 to 2012.

The industrial conflict was finally resolved after the Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, intervened in the matter.

In its reaction, the university’s management said that though lecturers have stayed away from their duty, they did so without telling the management their reason for doing so.

Abdullahi Abdullahi, the spokesman of the university, insisted that the lecturer’s action amounted to illegality and breach of the university’s laws.
Abdullahi said that the management was treating the action of the lecturers as a case of “gross insubordination.”

“It is a hearsay that all lecturers have preceded on leave to last 42 days,” he said.

“…They may be acting out of ignorance, but you know ignorance in law is not an excuse.”

Professor Mafuyai told Daily Trust on phone that the lecturers did not make any application before they proceeded on the leave.

He said: “I am not aware if anybody who applied for leave has been denied, or that everybody is on leave. There is no such thing.

“As far as I am concerned, I have not seen any applications for leave. I am not aware that there is strike.”

However, documents obtained by Daily Trust indicated that Mafuyai was not only aware of the leave, but he gave his approval to the lecturers to commence the leave.

It was gathered that the decision to proceed on the mass leave by the 1,100 lecturers was taken during a congress on Wednesday, March 23.
“There was no objection by any member,” a lecturer, who did not want his name in print, said.

“All members voted in support of a motion for the resolution for all lecturers to proceed on the mass leave.”

Following the congress’ resolution, Dr Piwuna, the chairman of ASUU, the lecturers’ association, wrote the vice-chancellor, requesting for approval for lecturers to proceed on the mass leave.

However, the university did not reply ASUU and on April 20, Piwuna wrote a reminder, requesting for approval for his members to complete “their annual leave forms and proceed on leave on May 2, 2016,” the lecturer said.

The university, thereafter, acknowledged receipt of the letter on April 26th through a letter issued by an administrative officer II, Mr Haruna Sunday Dauji.

“On May 30, Professor Mafuyai himself sent a letter to the ASUU chairman, recognising the right to annual leave by staff and, indeed, encourages staff to go on annual leave, yearly,” the lecturer added.

The letter obtained by our reporter said: “I am constrained to appeal to the congress of ASUU to reconsider going on mass annual leave now in the general interest of normalising the university’s calendar.

“We urge that a suitable arrangement be put in place by departments to enable staff take turns to go on leave while normal academic activities are maintained.”

In separate letters to the lecturers from the registrar, Danjuma Jilli-Dandam, through one Mrs. Lydia M. Julson, the administration approved 42 days, against ASUU’s request for 48 days leave.

The letter said in part: “The leave takes effect from May 2, 2016, and ends on June 13, 2016.”

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