…Our members are dying —ASSU Unical zone

By Simon Ebegbulem & Emma Una

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Benin zone, Edo State, has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay in full, salaries and arrears allegedly owed Universities or they would down tools.

Addressing newsmen in Benin City, yesterday, zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Anthony Monye-Emina, described as pitiable, the state of state-owned universities and regretted that the shortfall in subvention and fractional payment of salaries in the last months had affected the smooth running of academic activities.

Also, ASUU,  University of Calabar Zone, Cross River State, said that mortality rate  among its members has increased in the past one year owing to the persistent shortfall in the payment of monthly salaries to them following the cut in subvention to universities by the Federal Government .

Making the revelation, yesterday, at the University of Calabar, leaders of the zonal ASUU, comprising Universities  of Calabar,  Uyo,  and  state universities of Abia, Ebonyi and the Cross River University of Technology, said that the university system in the country was once again enveloped with dark clouds and tension due mainly to the shortfall  in subvention to universities by the Federal Government.

PROTEST: Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, during a rally/protest to sensitize students and the public on the plight of academic staff in the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, yesterday. Photo by Lamidi Bamidele.

In a statement by Professor Nsing Ogar, Coordinator of Unical ASUU  zone, alongside  Dr. Tony Eyang, Chairman of Unical chapter, Dr Aniekan Brown of UniUyo  chapter, Dr Emmanuel Etta of the Cross River University of Technology chapter, they blamed the death of their members on the shortfall in their monthly salaries.

Meanwhile, in Benin City, UNIBEN ASUU, in a  statement by Prof. Monye-Emina, described the action of the Federal Government as an “affront which will no longer be condoned,” and advised the government to rise up to their responsibilities and interface with the state governments who are owners of the universities and stop the fractional payment of salaries forthwith.

“For a while now, governing councils of public universities across the country have been paying fractions rather than full salaries to workers in the institutions. In some cases, it is a case of back log of salaries running into months. These unfortunate and condemnable developments are blamed on shortfall in and non-release of subvention from governments.

“In University of Benin and Federal University of Petroleum Resources, FUPR, Ogbomoro, Warri, the two federal Universities in Benin Zone, the shortfall is such that government is only able to meet about 80 percent of monthly salary.”

“The state Universities in the zone are worst off. In Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, the staff of the institution have been without salary for six months.  In the same Ondo State, the older University, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, salary is in arrear of five months, March will make it six.

“ hese developments are unacceptable especially given the current harsh economic climate and also considering that the salary in question is a product of collective bargaining. They amount to unilateral cut in and seizure of salary and breaches of the outcome of collective bargaining process that midwifed the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement. So after 14 days if our demands are not met we will embark on a strike action,” he stated.

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