The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday issued a 14 day ultimatum to the Federal and state government to pay the shortfall in their salaries, or the union embarks on industrial action unrest in the nation’s universities.
The university lecturers who made this position known during a press conference in Akure, Ondo state capital, also warned some state governments owing lecturers salaries and allowances to commence the payment of the outstanding salaries or face the wrath of the union.
Speaking during the Press conference at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), the Chairman of the Akure Zone of ASUU, Dr Alex Odiyi advised the government not to do anything that would plunge the university system into unnecessary chaos over the shortfall in salary payment.
According to the statement jointly signed by Dr Alex Odiyi, Dr Bola Oniya, Dr Caleb Aboriade and Prof Olu Olufayo, the union, stated that most of the universities across the country are experiencing similar shortfalls in the payment of their salaries.
Odiyi, noted that public universities in the country have started to experience worse reductions in salaries components of their allocation with the consequence of receiving fractions or percentage reduction in their salaries.
He said most federal universities did not have capacities to make up for the shortfall in the salary component, saying this has affected some institution which included, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife (OAU), FUTA, Ekiti State University (EKSU) University of Jos, University of Ibadan (UI), University of Calabar and ATBU, Bauch.
The lecturers attributed these challenges to the inefficient of the Governing Council of all these Universities saying they have not been performing their role of interfacing between the university administrations and the governments of both the state and federal levels.
He said “ASUU hereby declares that these trends of shortfalls in salaries as well as fraction payment are not acceptable to us and our colleagues in their branches and must stop immediately. It is only an uncaring government that takes pleasure in cheating on its workers.
“In addition, we demand that the balance of all shortfalls should be paid to the universities before the end of March, 2017, so our deductions can be remitted to the appropriate bodies.
“It is corruption in practice for a government to deny the full payment of workers’ wages and thus puts to question the morality and credibility of the current anti-corruption campaign by President Muhammadu Buhari”
The zonal chairman of ASUU also said that “at this level, we state that this act of government and by extension University Governing Councils and administrations is an outright method of denying us our salaries and is capable of degenerating into crisis in the university system.”
The union, however, said government should be held responsible for any action taken by the union that may affect the nation’s academic calendar but said the National Executive Council (NEC) of the body would be called to appraise the situation before embarking on the industrial action.