Senate has asked the Federal Government to release N4 billion to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), to enable the crisis-ridden institution re-open and save the future of its 34,000 students.
The students have remained in the same classes since 2015, when workers of the institution began to strike over inadequate funding for their salaries and general operations.
Although jointly owned by Oyo and Osun states, Senate, yesterday, urged the federal government to take over and fund the Ogbomoso-based school as “permanent solution” to its crisis.
This followed a motion by Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, who hails from Ogbomoso, the school’s host community.
The crisis in the institution has been intractable, with students not being promoted for two years as staff unions insist they will not return to work except they are paid several months’ backlog of salaries. The two state governments, apart from “appeal for cooperation,” have not committed to settling the arrears.
The Alumni Association of the school, last month, launched the #FundLautech campaign to raise N1 billion for the school. Less than 10 per cent of the fund has so far been raised.
In his motion, Buhari said “strike has crippled the activities of the school for more than one year, due to the inability of parent states to provide N4 billion to pay accumulated salaries and arrears of members of staff, thereby, leaving over 3,000 staff of the university to wallow in hardship and poverty.
“The careers of over 34,000 students are currently in jeopardy, turning them to social miscreants and leaving parents who have laboured to give their wards quality education to languish in pain and agony 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 parent states is difficult and has become necessary for the federal government to intervene and review this nature of ownership.”
Apart from the funding request, the Senate also asked the federal government to set up a committee “that will look into the whole situation in order to provide permanent solution by taking over the institution.”
Amid the crisis rocking LAUTECH, Oyo State commissioned a technical university in Ibadan, which, according to the government, is based on public private partnership model.