The Joint Action Committee of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), University of Ibadan (UI) chapter on Thursday urged the federal government to ensure payment of earned allowances and minimum wage arrears to its members.
They also deplored the hardship being faced by retired universities’ workers in accessing their retirement benefits through the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) amidst cases of allegations of mismanagement or outright pillaging of the funds levelled against supervisory officials.
Addressing a press conference, Ibadan, the chairman of UI SSANU, Comrade S.A Akinremi recalled that “the federal government had an agreement with non-teaching unions in 2009 to pay certain allowances tagged ‘Earned Allowances,’ noting that the payment of the hazard allowance, as an item of the allowances, has been most controversial.”
According to him, “the federal government up till December 2012, under the former President Goodluck Jonathan paid arrears of the allowance till 2012 for non-teaching members of staff while it favoured most, unfortunately, the academic members of such. This to us is considered most unfair and divisive.
“As unions, we have made concerted efforts to ensure that payment were made to non-teaching members, but the federal government and its agents have been unduly difficult and insensitive. In the circumstance, we call on Nigerians and other well-meaning individuals in the country to prevail on the government to pay these allowances in the interest of peace and continued co-existence on our campuses,” Akinremi stated.
Commenting on the national minimum wage which came into force in April, 2019, he lamented that “it is disheartening that months after it had come into force and implemented in various universities, it took a long while before this could be a in the universities, particularly federal universities, leading to accumulation of arrears.
“It is apt to note that several engagements with the appropriate federal ministries and agencies (Office of the Accountant General, Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity) to ensuring the arrears of the national minimum wage is paid have fallen on deaf ears.
“It is also worrisome that stories around the pension scheme have been mind-shattering. There have been allegations of mismanagement or outright pillaging of the funds levelled against supervisory officials. The backlash of this has been that successive retirees have had to face arduous times to have their pension entitlement paid.
“Accordingly, in the circumstance, we cannot continue to be silent in the face of such blatant oppression and dehumanisation. We, therefore, call on the federal government to address this anomaly in the interest of peace in the Nigerian university system,” Akinremi remarked.
He continued “the introduction of IPPIS came at the wake of observed corruption in the wage bills of MDAs. There is no doubt that the scheme in some instances have recorded pluses. However, it did not come without its shortcomings, particularly as it relates to federal universities. Aside the fact that it had eroded the age-long autonomy, it has worsened the condition of staffers of federal universities, who, hitherto, have suffered inflation and non-payment of arrears of minimum wage.
“At inception, during test-running of the scheme, the national leadership of the unions have pointed the peculiarities to the managers of the scheme and the federal government agents, who promised to ensure that they would be addressed. Unfortunately, we were hoodwinked into the scheme and the backwashes have been gesture devastating as salaries of workers have been amputated on monthly basis with no desk officer to lodge the complaints,” Akinremi added.
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