Tunrayo Sofolahan is a worker at Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo State, and just like many of her colleagues, she is a victim of debt, hunger, lack and many other woes that non-payment of salary brings.
Speaking on why she took an overdose of drug to take her own life, Sofolahan said she was tired of living as a result of debts.
“I have debts to pay and other issues that require money to sort out. Money was not coming because our salaries have yet to be paid. I was fed up. So I took an overdose of some drugs. I was revived in the hospital. But my debt and troubles are still there,” she said.
The Chairman of the Joint Action Council of the six tertiary institutions belonging to Oyo State Government, Mr. Adeniyi Babatunde, narrated how some of the staff of the institutions are owed salaries, as much as 15 months and some are even sick without having money for treatment.
On her part, the widow of former vice-chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Okeogun Polytechnic chapter, Taofeek Jokanola, also said her husband died because of his inability to fulfil his family obligations due to financial problems.
She said, “He was not sick. We had children in schools, but we could not pay their fees. We also had accommodation problems. We were asked to leave the apartment that we occupied. I am also a member of staff of the school. So we shared the same financial problems because we are being owed several months’ salaries. He must have had too many problems in his mind. He collapsed and died.”
Also, speaking on the death of her husband, the widow of Dr Kabiru Bello of the Animal Health and Production Department, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, Lateefat, said when her husband fell ill, he was taken to the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Ile-Ife and the University College Hospital, Ibadan but later died at OAUTH.
She said that some of his friends and relatives raised money for his treatment, but it was not enough to save him from death.
“My husband died on August 16 this year. He was employed by the school in 2011. When he became ill, we spent all we had on the sickness and later began to raise money through friends and relatives because his salaries were not paid. He was taken to OAUTH and later, he spent 14 days at the UCH. He later died at the hospital. We have three children together, but there is nothing left for us. I am a graduate of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, but I am unemployed,” said Lateefat.
Similar protests also held in the other five institutions. They are The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education; Oyo, College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora; The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa, The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki, and College of Education, Lanlate.
Workers in the institutions expressed displeasure over what they described as an attempt by the state government to ‘kill’ the institutions through inadequate funding. They appealed to the government to pay their outstanding salaries.