Nigeria

Workers shut down Unity school in Ondo, want principal ousted

There is chaos at the Federal Science and Technical College, Ikare Akoko in Ondo State, as workers locked out the school’s principal, Muyibat Olodo, and barred her from resuming in her office.

The workers last week began a protest over poor welfare and alleged highhandedness of the principal.

The conflict between the workers and the principal grounded academic activities throughout last week, even though the students remain in school.

Rallying on the platform of the Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, the workers have vowed not to allow the principal to return to the school.

They shut all the school gates and vowed to keep them locked until the federal government removed Mrs Olodo.

According to the chairman of the school’s branch of the association, Olutoye Akinlabi, Mrs Olodo had denied the staff their entitlements, making it difficult for them to discharge their duties.

He said the principal would force the staff to work until late at night, even though she had reduced staff Duty Tour Allowance from N12,000 to N5,000.

Mrs Olodo was also accused of nepotism and the collection of Illegal fees from students, as well as the selling of low-quality mattresses to the students at an exorbitant rate.

She was further alleged to have the culture of “maliciously” redeploying staff members who fell out with her.

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It was gathered that efforts by the state chapter of the ASCSN to mediate in the matter failed.

In the heat of the matter, the Ondo State Chairman of the association, Suraju Abileko, and the state Secretary, Soladoye Ekundayo, brokered a deal after several hours of meeting at the school, but the agreement failed to hold after Mrs Olodo refused to sign the communique.

The workers were then infuriated and began to picket the school on a daily basis.

It was gathered that Mrs Olodo refused to sign the document reached at the meeting because she refused to accept the clause alleging that she was maliciously deploying workers against her wish.

When newsmen called her on Sunday for her comments, she cut off the call.

She also refused to pick further calls to her phone and did not respond to a text message sent to her.

Meanwhile, an intervention by the Federal Ministry of Education brought the two parties together on Friday, raising the hope that the matters might be resolved this week.

Officials of the union confirmed that during the meeting mediated by officials from Abuja, Mrs Olodo eventually signed the communique.

In spite of the intervention by the Federal Ministry of Education, the workers are still insisting that the principal must be redeployed.

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“The determination of the workers and which has been expressed is that she either leaves the school or we will leave,” one of the workers said.

“The situation has come to that point, and we are not going to back down on that.”

The college was founded as a co-educational institution with boarding facilities from the defunct Ondo State College of Arts and Science (OSCAS) in 1999.

It is situated in Ikare town along Ikare-Ado Ekiti road. The college had a student population of 192 at its inception in 2000 but now has 804 which comprises 552 boys and 252 girls.

The staff strength is 133, including the principal and five vice-principals; 77 academic staff and 56 non-Academic staff. The college runs the Junior Secondary, Senior Secondary and Technical Curricula.

The Approved External Examinations provided for in the College are West African Senior School Certificate Examination(WASSCE), awarded by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and Senior Secondary Certificate, awarded by National Examination Council (NECO), National Technical Certificate (NTC) awarded by National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB).

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