Friday Olokor, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, (Abuja zone), has rejected what it described as “ugly and worrisome unilateral drastic cut” by the Federal Government in the personnel cost allocations to federal universities throughout the country.
The organisation warned of dire consequences, including “a breakdown of industrial harmony”, should the Federal Government continue to cut salaries of workers.
“This singular action of the Federal Government is a recipe for the death of public university education in Nigeria. This implies that the masses shall no longer have access to university education and, therefore, Nigeria shall continue to be under-developed,” ASUU warned.
According to the union, the shortfall in salaries payment to its members in all federal universities, which began in December 2015, had become a pattern employed by government to oppress labour movement in the country.
The Abuja Zone comprises University of Abuja; Federal University of Technology, Minna; Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Niger-State owned Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai and Federal University, Lafia.
The Coordinator of the zone, Dr. Theophilus Lagi, expressed these observations in a communique issued after its meeting in the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University in Lapai, Niger State.
He said, “In January 2017, the personnel costs released by the government to UNIABUJA, for instance, was a little above N359 million. This amount could only pay about 91 per cent of the salaries of staff in the university for that month. However, in February 2017, the same government released a little above N302m to the same UNIABUJA for the same purpose, when there was no reduction in the workforce at the university.
“This dipped the pay-cut further down. While the staff of UNIABUJA received 81 per cent of their total salaries in February, their counterparts in the Federal University, Lafia, received only 45 per cent of their total salaries for the same month of February 2017. At FUT Minna, the story is also not different, as the University experienced over N21 million cut in salaries each for the months of January and February, 2017.”
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Port Harcourt Zone, has threatened to suspend academic activities at the universities in the zone if issues of shortfall and unpaid salaries were not addressed urgently.
The universities in the zone are the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Bayelsa State; Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State; the Rivers State University of Science and Technology; and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rivers State.