Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Taraba State University chapter, has accused the state government of insincerity and lack of commitment to end the ongoing strike embarked upon by the union.
Addressing a press conference on the institution’s campus yesterday, Chairman of the chapter, Dr. Samuel Shikaa, told journalists that the union is disappointed by the failure of the government to take concrete steps towards meeting its demands which have been lingering since 2014.
The strike, according to the chairman, was necessitated by the failure of the state government to honour the agreement it entered with the union in March 2018 for it to suspend the strike it embarked upon in February 2018 contrary to the propaganda being peddled that the strike was due to the deductions in their January and February salaries.
In the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed on behalf of the state government by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Anthony Jellason, and Commissioner for Education, Johannes Jigem, and dated March 21, 2018, a copy of which was made available to journalists, the state government agreed to implement the agreements in the MoA in order to resolve the issues at stake.
Though it failed to implement the funding of the university via full implementation of law No 4 of Taraba State House of Assembly which stipulates that the institutions would be funded through five percent of state and local government monthly allocation as well as two percent of contracts awarded to contractors and two percent of revenue of hotels, the government however agreed to increase monthly salary allocation from N70 million to N100 million with effect from March 2018.
One of the agreements the government failed to implement was the security challenges which it promised to address by constructing a perimeter fence round the university and the implementation of the staff pension and gratuity scheme.
The government, according to the ASUU chairman, equally failed to release N10million monthly for the payment of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) as agreed pending when all the outstanding from 2013/2014 session which has accumulated to over N460million is cleared.
In the same vein, the state government failed to eject non university staff from the university staff quarters which it promised to do once rehabilitation of houses given to staff of the College of Education in Zing is completed.
Shikaa further explained that the union had embarked on several industrial actions to press home its demands and government had always entered into agreements with it refusing to honour
He said: “Since 2014, there have been series of industrial dispute because government has failed to honour agreements reached with ASUU which have to do with funding, infrastructural deficit in the school, pension, perimeter fencing of the school and security of staff.
“All we are saying is that the state government should do the needful by showing serious commitment to the issue at hand.”
Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu, has appealed to ASUU to come to the negotiating table with the government with an opened mind, saying the government is committed to ending the strike.