Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kogi State University (KSU) Anyigba, chapter, has said that about 200 of its members were screened out of service during the recently concluded staff verification exercise.
The Chairman, ASUU-KSU, Dr. Daniel Aina, who made this known, recently, while addressing journalists, in Lokoja, said the ongoing strike could only be suspended when all issues relating to arrears of salaries, 2015 employment, contract and sabbatical staff were resolved.
The union also said government must resume the monthly instalmental payment of the 2009-2014 arrears of the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
According to them, â€œthe Kogi state university management must pay up the outstanding balance of the 2014/2015 arrears of the EAA.” said Aina.
The union, which commended the government for reconstituting the governing council of the university, however, said the more serious issue of payment of arrears of salaries to all categories of its members had not been addressed.
The chairman said the union had, at the inaugural meeting of the governing council appealed to it to expedite action on the resolution of uncleared staff and payment of arrears of salaries.
“This was to create a pathway for the amicable resolution of all outstanding issues before the April 24, 2017. ASUU’s suggestion would seem to have been jettisoned. This is because while staff of other tertiary institutions in Kogi state who have been on strike, have received their February and March 2017 salaries, those of KSU, Anyigba are yet to be paid.
â€œSince 2014, the Kogi State government has never paid the staff monthly salary in full. The university administration has had to augment the recurrent short falls from its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Even this amputated salary wage bill has become erratic.
â€œThe government must be told that the propaganda on salary payment is a ruse because artisans, traders and the business environment of the state do not enjoy the patronage that naturally flourishes when workers are paid.
“It is pathetic that economic activities have been seriously hampered in Kogi state due to the non-payment of salaries occasioned by the long-drawn and tortuous staff screening exercises. Many parents whose children and wards have been at home since the strike action commenced, are yet to be paid their salaries.
â€œTo date, several of our members have not received salary since June 2016. In fact, all staff of Kogi State university, Anyigba have not received their February and March 2017 salaries. Neither the government nor the university administration has provided,” Aina stressed.
The lecturers expressed concerns over the consistently deteriorating working conditions of the academic staff of the university that had led to mass exodus of staff. It also noted a sharp reduction in the funding of the institution by government, regretting that infrastructure and staff development in the school have been left in the hands of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the NEEDS assessment.
The union however condemned the disruption of the peaceful protest embarked upon by students of the university, their arrests, rough handling and detention by security agents while trying to draw government’s attention to their plight.