We‘re Owing For 5 Not 10 Months, Abia Varsity Mgt Replies ASUU

The Management of the Abia State University, ABSU, has debunked claims by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in the institution that its members were being owed 10 months, insisting that staff of the university are only owed five months.

Registrar, Dr Acho Elendu, who cleared the air in a press statement, explained that the current Management inherited a backlog of salary arrears of 10 months but had painstakingly reduced the backlog to five months, sometimes paying arrears of two months in one month.

The Management spoke on the heels of a recent media interview by ASUU Chairperson, Comrade Victor  Nkemdirim, who complained that the academic staff of the university had run out of begging strategy and that some of them could no longer feed well owing to non-payment of their salaries.

But the Registrar in a swift response said that the current Management was making spirited efforts to clear every outstanding arrear, and advised ASUU against resorting to blackmail.

The statement entitled, “Outstanding Salaries of Staff of Abia State University – The True Position”, read in part: “The attention of Management of Abia State University has been drawn to a press statement by the Chairperson, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Abia State University branch, urging the State Government to intervene and pay outstanding 10 months salaries of staff of the University.

“Management appreciates the plight of our respected colleagues and would stop at nothing towards ameliorating the ugly situation through collective responsibility and mutual sacrifices.

“For the benefit of the public and to put the records straight, Management wishes to state as follows: That on the assumption of office by the Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Professor Onyemachi M, Ogbulu, on 1st December 2020 the University was in arrears of salary payment for nine months occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

“That as a Distinguished Professor of Finance, prudent Manager of resources and unrepentant welfarist, the Vice-Chancellor between December 2020 and February 2022 paid 17 months salaries in 13 months; at times, two months salaries were paid in one month. The records are there.

“That has drastically reduced the arrears of salaries to five months and regularly providing municipal services in the university, Management promised to liquidate the outstanding salary payments within the year, given uninterrupted academic activities.

“That being an institution which depends largely on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to complement the monthly subvention by the State Government, the National ASUU strike and subsequent closure of the University have had a consequential and debilitating effect on the University finances;

“We, therefore, appeal to ASUU, ABSU branch to reconsider their position in this protracted strike action and desist from blackmailing the University Management with respect to funding.”

ASUU had in an earlier statement entitled, “Save Our Souls: Abia State University Academics Are Dying”, accused the university Management of not mounting enough pressure on the State Government to release their subventions regularly.

It read in part: ”With dismay, we are deeply pained because of the sorry state we have found ourselves. The peculiar situation where Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from student’s school fees would be used to pay the salaries of staff. This is a case of self-destruction where the Managers, instead of forcing it on the government to release subvention to the university pretends that IGR can solve the litany of problems in the University. What deceit!

“It is important to note and to bring to the attention of the public the pathetic condition afflicting Lecturers in ABSU. We have never had it so rough and traumatic. The staff of ABSU are wondering what they did to earn such a fate/punishment. Who did we offend?

“For the avoidance of doubt, we are owed 10 long, tedious and agonizing months of arrears of salaries. The last salary payment received was that of September 2021. The non-implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, resulted in arrears of 18 months, amounting to close to 1 billion naira, withheld cooperative and loan deductions, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) since 2009 which must State Universities are enjoying, no pension fund and many more.

“We wish to draw the attention of the students, parents and the general public to the fact that 99% of the Lecturer, apart from maybe the managers have run out of stock of begging strategies. Most colleagues are hospitalized, there are some who could not even afford to go to patent medicine shops, and some neither have access to their routine drugs nor eat 1 full square meal a day. Our children have been sent out of school, landlords are on us as a result of expired rents, and our aged parents and other dependents have lost hopes. It’s that bad.

“We call on the stakeholders in God’s own State, and the Abia State Government to come to our rescue. We acknowledge the fact that the State Government does not pay our salaries. All we are asking for is the prompt and regular release of the subvention to the university as it is in the appropriation law of the State. At this point, we call on our colleague, His Excellency, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu PhD to listen to the cries from his constituency.”


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