By Chinenyeh Ozor
Academic activities may be paralysed in tertiary institutions nationwide if federal government fails to address the short falls in personnel emoluments of academic staff union of universities in the country.
Prof. David Ikoni, zonal co-ordinator, academic staff union of universities (ASUU ) Nsukka zone made this known to newsmen at the end of two days executive meeting of zonal officers of ASUU held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Prof. Ikoni urged government to quickly pay the short falls in personnel emolument in federal universities and address irregular/ non payment of salaries and subventions in state universities to avert the danger of ASUU being forced to embark on industrial action.
‘’The problem of short-falls affects both federal and state universities, our union is of the strong view that there is no financial or moral justification for the shortfall in personnel emolument of members of the union who are rendering full service in their respective universities of primary assignment” he noted.
According to him, ‘’ASUU National executive council (NEC) strongly condemn the current
practice by this government of deliberately paying fractions of salary to our members such that it is no longer possible to know the percentage to receive at the end of each month”.
He explained that Nsukka zone of the union during the two days meeting described the trend as worsening adding that if the situation continues, academic activities may be paralyzed and Nigeria University would be on the verge of total collapse.
‘The zonal coordinator noted that the essence of the zonal meeting was for the general public to be put on notice so that ASUU shall not be held responsible if it decides to embark on any action to press home her legitimate demand.
‘’If academic staff can no longer receive their salaries at the end of the month, it would be difficult for them to concentrate on effective delivery of their mandate as researchers and teachers, this is unacceptable, federal and state governments must reverse this ugly trend in the interest of the education sector”, he said.
The zonal coordinator itemised the short-falls as it affects universities in the zone as follows
Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi – N552, 086, 111.99; University of Nigeria, Nsukka N928,322, 378.76; Federal University Lokoja N20, 222, 556.65 and Federal University, Wukari- N96, 500, 000. He added that the figures showed the extent of huge short-falls in personnel emolument of members of the union.
He expressed displeasure that despite federal government request for N10billion virement from National Assembly last year which was approved to address the short-falls of personnel emolument, academic staff of universities are yet to be paid the short-falls.