Again, ASUU spoils for showdown with FG over N495bn arrears

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU),Calabar chapter, is spoiling for war with the Federal Government, over sundry arrears of N495 billion owed them since 2009, as well as alleged refusal of government to honour their agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

In a press statement made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Calabar, on Wednesday, ASUU said “the union should not be held responsible for whatever industrial difficulties that might arise from government’s continuous unseriousness in handling the issues.

As it is, ASUU can no longer guarantee industrial peace on our campuses as academic staff think government has taken them for a ride.”

Advancing reasons for their decision, the union said they were disillusioned over “non-implementation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement and MoU of 2013, non-release of the revitalisation fund, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), the payment of salaries in fractions and the frustration of the registration of NUPEMCO, amongst others.”

The zonal body further noted that despite the understanding displayed by the union, “there has been no indication of seriousness on the part of the Federal Government to honour the MoU reached in November 2013 as a road map to honouring the 2009 agreement,” adding “the fund for revitalisation of universities have not been released for some time now contrary to agreement, thus pilling the arrears to N495 billion.”

The lecturers expressed displeasure over what they described as “payment of salaries in fractions in federal universities since December 2015,” adding that government went ahead to proscribe the post-UTME test, thereby robbing universities of their autonomy and responsibility of determining the quality of students who enroll for admission.

They condemned the introduction of Treasury Single Account, TSA, saying it is incompatible with the running of universities, as it makes access to funds difficult.

Early in the year, the government had promised that the ugly situation would be checked when the 2016 Budget was passed into law, but several months afterwards, the shortfalls in the subvention for payment of staff emoluments are still occurring, incomplete salaries paid, and nothing is being done. This is totally unacceptable to our members,” ASUU insisted.