The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon(Barr) Onofiok Luke has commended the management of Akwa Ibom State University for its steps towards reconsidering its earlier decision on terminating appointments/downgrading of some members of its staff.
The Speaker made the commendation Tuesday during a plenary session of the House, shortly after the House was presented with the report by the House Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Public Petitions by the committee chairman, Hon (Barr) Aniefiok Denis, following a petition earlier sent to the House by the affected staff and which was presented by the Member representing Abak State Constituency, Rt. Hon Friday Iwok on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
In his brief comment, Barr Luke commended the management of the institution for paying listening ears to the appeal of the House through its committee on Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Public Petitions, and for their reconsideration of the affected workers by offering them another opportunity to make things right towards securing their appointments.
Noting that such matters in most cases do end in court, the speaker restressed his commendation on the management for giving into a diplomatic approach to settling the issue and not allowing the matter to get to the court level.
Speaker Luke further advised other tertiary institutions in the state to emulate the gesture of the AKSU management by always ensuring that considerations and reconsiderations are made where necessary, especially where critical decisions as this are involved.
The speaker also commended members of the House for the level of support and their positive contributions to the matter as it was brought before the house and for standing up in defence of the affected staff, and particularly commended the committees which jurisdiction the matter fell in, for the effective job done, and for their efforts in ensuring that a favourable decision was eventually reached.
He observed that the decision of the House to intervene in the matter was a right one, as it is necessary for the House to prevent such issues that may hinder the progress of the educational sector and by extension, the progress of the state, adding that such setback is clearly one thing the state does not need at a time like this when it is aspiring to rise above its contemporaries.
The Speaker said there was need for the decision of the management of the Akwa Ibom State University to be reversed for the sake of the workers who were earlier sacked by the school. He said the amicable resolution of the matter following the House’ intervention shows the existent synergy among governmental agencies and institutions in the state.
While specially commending the member for Abak State Constituency, Rt. Hon Friday Iwok, the speaker also saluted the courage of the affected AKSU staff for taking a legal aproach by appearing before the house through the committees to present their problems and seek peacful solution.
It could be recalled that the state owned institution had some months back effected the termination of appointments/downgrading of about 22 of its workers. In reaction to this, the affected staff had petitioned the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly over what they termed “wrongful sack/downgrading of workers”.
The said petition was brought to the floor of the legislative chamber by the member for Abak State Constituency and which after a session of deliberations, was subjected by the speaker to the joint Committees on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Public Petitions and Education with a mandate on them to conduct a proper investigation on the matter and report same back to the house.
From the report presented to the House during the plenary of Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the House through the mandated committees was able to secure a rescue pill for the sacked staff by appealing to the university management for reconsideration.
The said rescue is evident in a letter sent to the committees by the management informing them of the approval of the University Governing Council to make certain concessions that would grant lifelines to the affected workers.
The concessions which were contained in the report presented to the House has it that the management in its reconsideration has further decided that “persons who were offered temporary appointment as academic staff in disciplines which are not available in the university but are relevant to General Studies will be placed in the General Studies Unit as academic staff members of the university and their appointments will be regularized accordingly”.
Also in the resolution of the university management, “persons who were offered temporary appointment as members of staff and already have the requisite qualification for their respective positions but did not perform up to the required standard in the regularization interview /written test will be allowed to remain in the positions which they were placed on temporary appointment and the regularization of their appointments will be deferred. They will, however, be given another opportunity within the year 2016 to attend another regularization interview, while persons who did not participate in the last regularization interview will be given another opportunity within the year 2016 to do so”.
However, the university reiterated its earlier position that “persons on temporary appointment who possess credit passes in up to four (4) subjects and above in not more than two (2) sittings, but did not credit pass in English Language (and mathematics, and other relevant subjects where applicable) will be given up to March 2017 to remedy their deficiencies and present credit passes in five (5) subjects including English Language (and mathematics, and other relevant subjects where applicable) in not more than two (2) sittings, afterwhich, they will be made to participate in the regularization interview”.
Furthermore, the university stressed that “persons on temporary appointment who possess credit passes in less than four (4) subjects shall have their appointments determined”.
Meanwhile, the House unanimously adopted the six (6) resolutions made by the joint committees on Public Petition and Education, one of which is that now that the issue has been resolved, the school should ensure that none of the affected staff or Union leaders should be victimised for the roles they played in the course of seeking justice.
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