June 14, 2024

Sallah: UniAbuja ASUU, CONUA members, staff lament unpaid salaries


… We’ve paid all staff, including striking ASUU members, says VC, Na’Allah

By Joseph Erunke, Abuja

As Nigerian Muslims join their counterparts across the world to observe this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), and staff of the university are lamenting their unpaid salaries by authorities of the institution. 

However, the institution’s branch of ASUU, which has been on strike for 41 days today, has vowed not to suspend its action, saying the action by the school’s authorities, which was meant to break its rank, has rather made it stronger. 

Members of the Congress of University Academics who have been working despite the ongoing strike by ASUU are also affected by the nonpayment of salaries by the university authorities. 

The university’s ASUU chairperson, Sylvanus Ugoh, in a communication he tagged “Day 41 Strike Update” to members, directed branches to brace up by mobilising themselves in the weeks ahead.

Ugoh accused the university administration of writing to the Accountant General of the Federation’s office to illegally stop ASUU members’ salaries to deter them and divert their attention from their legitimate struggle. 

According to him, “all the authorities concerned are in the know of this illegality.”

His communication to ASUU members reads Fellow comrades. Let me start by sending to you greetings from the National Executive Council (NEC) of our Union that held its NEC for NEC meeting on 7th and 8th June 2024, at the National Secretariat, Abuja.

“NEC commended your efforts for your tenacity, resoluteness, and doggedness in the ongoing struggle, even at the face of extreme hostilities and harshness. 

‘The major focus of the NEC, among others, is the state of the national struggle, the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, all the backlog of EAA, and all the outstanding salaries.

‘Branches are directed to mobilise themselves in the weeks ahead. For us in Uniabuja, we have never been found lagging behind in any action. We are already standing gallant and mobilised.

‘You may be all aware that it is the University Administration that wrote to the Accountant General Office to illegally stop our salaries in order to deter us and divert our attention from our legitimate struggle. All the authorities concerned are in the know of this illegality.”

Noting that members were already on the path of victory, he said, “And because of these prevailing harsh situations and no salaries, our congress will hold later in the days ahead. Right now, we know the level of hardship our members are subjected to by denying them their legitimate salaries, even with the Ed Kabir Sallah that is fast approaching.  As for the issues in contention that led to the ongoing strike, nothing has changed; rather, things are getting worse.”

“We will overcome and prevail by the grace of God,” Ugoh assured members, “God will surely provide for you.”

“Remain resolute and focused. Victory is sure! “A people united cannot be defeated. God bless you,” he reassured. 

But reacting to the allegation, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, said no staff was being owed salary. 

The VC’s statement reads: “The university management approved payment of salaries to all academic staff, and included, with magnanimity, even those on strike who deserved no salary because of the activation of ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy of the Nigerian government in the university.”

“The management was in contact with the IPPIS this morning to inquire about what was responsible for the delay in the payment of salaries to academic staff, and the information available to us is that it might be from glitch in the Remita. However, management is surprised that ASUU branch leadership which along with some of its members who walked out on their students and have refused to work for more than a month now and who ordinarily deserve no salary, are the ones to first cry wolf and work to blackmail the university. 

“It is unfortunate and painful to management that the academic staff are subjected to this suffering, especially those who laboured day and night to make life meaningful to their students. What is important to us at the moment is that the IPPIS has since confirmed that the May 2024 academic salary has been released for payment, and the continued delay now being experienced might be from Remita and not from Management.”