The Federal Government is owing the university workers, under the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU), over N150 billion earned allowances.
The money spans over nine years of unpaid allowances, as the government has not been able to pay since 2011 to date; as jointly agreed in the 2009 agreement signed by the Federal Government with the respective unions.
While the NAAT members were owed N71 billion since 2011, SSANU and NASU said their members, under the Joint Action Committee of SSANU and NASU were owed over N81 billion, also since 2011.
The three unions have demanded for the payment of the earned allowances; and coupled with other contentious issues such as IPPIS and general poor state of the university system, two of the unions, SSANU and NASU have declared industrial actions.
While SSANU and NASU have commenced the strike last Friday, the NAAT said it would not go on strike for now until the contentious issues are exhaustively discussed with the government, since the union is already holding meetings with the Federal Government.
But the NAAT has demanded for additional release of fund from the government to add to the N10 billion given to the three unions from the initial N40 billion released recently. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was given N30 billion from the total N40 billion for the payment allowance recently, while NAAT, SSANU and NASU were given N10 billion.
Specifically, NAAT demanded for immediate release of N30 billion to pay its members, to forestall them from going on strike.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune, the President of NAAT, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, said the government owed his members N71 billion, and demanded immediate payment of half of the total sum.
He said: “We already told government. The earned allowances being owed our members is N71 billion, my union and members alone because while ASUU has been paid up to 2016, our own members are struggling to be paid up to 2012.
“In most universities, our members are being owed up to 2011. So, we have also demanded that 50 per cent of what is being owed our members should be paid to us, which translate to N30 billion.”
Comrade Nwokoma added:
“We want government to improve on the N10 billion allocated to the three unions. It is skewed against the three unions, it is unfair. If you want peace in the universities there must be justice, there must be equity.”
The NAAT president, however, pointed out that the union has not totally written off going on strike, saying “we will review our stand. If the government, out of our patriotism thinks that the union can be taken for granted, then we will review our stand, we would go on strike.”
Also speaking with our correspondent, the SSANU National Vice President (West), Comrade Abdulssobur Salaam, said SSANU and NASU members are being owed over N81 billion.
He, however, demanded the release of the Forensic Audit report carried out to determine who and what have been paid since 2017, adding that the report of the investigation and their findings have not been released till now.
He said: “The amount being owed as Earned Allowances for SSANU and NASU is in excess of N80 billion and spans from 2011 to 2021 (ten years). The specific figures may be difficult to determine and that is the reason why we demanded the outcome of the Forensic Audit report since 2017. The government set up a forensic audit investigation but since 2017, the committee has not made its findings public.”
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