95 Lecturers Owed Up To 13 Months’ Salaries – ASUU, Bauchi Zone

The Bauchi zone of ASUU lamented that 95 of its members in three institutions had not been paid their salaries for up to 13 months.

The Zonal Coordinator, ASUU, Bauchi Zone, Prof Lawan Abubakar, who disclosed this during a press conference at the union’s secretariat in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, said since they were “forced” into the IPPIS, the affected lecturers had continuously been omitted from the payment of salaries every month.

He said, “The inconsistencies observed in the application of the IPPIS in the payment of salaries and remittances of third-party deductions have continued in all the federal universities. Since the introduction of the IPPIS in February 2020, our members have continued to be omitted from the payment of salaries on a monthly basis.

“This is the situation across all the federal universities in the country. Every month when salary is paid, different sets of staff members will have their names omitted from the payment for that particular month.

“As we speak now, about 61 lecturers from the University of Jos are being owed salaries for two to 13 months; it is the same situation at the ATBU, Bauchi, which has 16 lecturers; and the Federal University of Kashere with 18 lecturers.

“This is deliberate and amounts to the victimisation of ASUU members by the IPPIS office as a ploy to force them to enrol, thereby frustrating the implementation of the UTAS as agreed before the strike was suspended in 2020.”

He wondered if some individuals were “feeding fat” on the high cost of maintenance and consultancy fees on the IPPIS as against the freely developed and more efficient UTAS that had taken care of the universities’ peculiarities and in line with extant laws, adding, “Could this be the reason for the foot-dragging by the Federal Government to deploy the UTAS in the universities?”

Abubakar said another disturbing trend was that professors and readers (associate professors), who were supposed to retire at the age of 70, were being forcefully retired by the IPPIS through the abrupt stoppage of their salaries in violation of the Universities Miscellaneous Act of 2012.

He noted that the salaries paid to the union members were not commensurate with their ranks based on the prevailing salary table, wondering where the “unauthorised” deductions were going.

He said, “What we have been suffering is a theft of our salaries. At the end of every month, no one can say for certain what his/her exact salary will be as a result of unauthorised deductions; one must just do with what the IPPIS throws at you.

“When the UTAS is deployed, we will ask for the running of our salaries from January 2020 to see clearly what we were supposed to get and what we got; then, we will demand that the government pays us the backlog of our salaries it has been deducting. There will be trouble; it is imminent.”

The zonal coordinator accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and the Accountant-General of the Federation of not being willing to solve the problems.

“It’s either he (Ngige) is not willing to solve these problems or he’s simply incompetent to address them. The AGF has been evading us because we know he is a problem. We know how they are eating fat on the IPPIS and we know how they have held our various university administrations to ransom on the issue of employment,” he added.

Abubakar accused the Federal Government of “only being interested in provoking another strike because, since the suspension of the strike in December 2020, the Federal Government has simply gone to sleep over the implementation of most items agreed upon as contained in the Memorandum of Action.”

When asked if he thought the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was concerned about solving the issues that ASUU had with the government, he said, “I cannot say if any politician is concerned about Nigeria. They are only concerned about their families.

“We cannot engage in a dialogue with the government forever. The dialogue with this government is not fruitful. I am sure the government can resolve all the issues in one day because we have been discussing it over the years.”

He said members of ASUU in the Bauchi zone had been stretched beyond their elastic limit and could not continue to wait for the government and its agents displaying all manners of antics, which amounted to delay tactics.

Abubakar added, “Our patience has been taken for granted. We the leaders of this union in the various branches, zones and at the national level cannot continue to manage our members. Our members are not happy with us because they have waited this long with the timelines expiring more than eight months ago and we have not called them back.

“Anytime from now, the union will conclude the process. We have already started the process of going back and when we exhaust our procedures, then, we will announce the date for the strike.

“We are pained to bring these issues to the public, because more than nine months after suspending the 2020 strike, the government has again reneged on the MoA. The public, in this circumstance, should not hold our union responsible for any disruption of academic activities in Nigerian public universities.”

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