By Adesina Wahab
THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate staff of the Bursary Department of the University of Maiduguri and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State for sabotaging efforts of the government to pay the salaries of its members in the institutions.
The union alleged that the staff did not obey the instructions of the President that salaries of the lecturers be paid beginning from February this year, leading to a situation whereby the lecturers are now being owed between five and six months arrears of salaries.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who stated this in a chat with our correspodent was reacting to the statement by the UNIMAID Chapter of the union that they would soon take some drastic steps if their salaries were not paid immediately.
However, Ogunyemi told Vanguard that investigations by his union showed that the Bursary staff were culpable, as their negligence led to the ugly development. “We are concerned about the matter and the suffering of our members in the University of Maiduguri and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State. From our investigations, the Bursary Department of the two universities created the problem. They did not respond to the request from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation as and when due. We suspect they wanted to sabotage the payment of the salaries of our members. We find this objectionable and we want the matter investigated.
“They were to be paid two months arrears in April and they didn’t pay them and the salaries started piling up. By June ending, they paid some that June salary and did not pay others. And by July ending, the arrears became five or six months depending on if you were paid in June. Bursary staff in those universities must be punished. They did not obey President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives. They are deliberately punishing our members. They are working to frustrated our efforts. They must be held accountable,” he said.
Recall that lecturers at the University of Maiduguri recently issued a statement lamenting their condition.
The lecturers, in a statement by the Chairperson, ASUU, UNIMAID Chapter, Prof. Dani Mamman, said despite the directive by Buhari last February that their salaries be paid on monthly basis, some of them were still not yet paid a kobo since then.
“At an interactive meeting of the executive of ASUU, the University of Maiduguri chapter with affected members on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, it was found out that some members are being owed five months salaries and even six months in some cases.
“This is unfortunate and also we got to know that our colleagues at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State are also not paid out of the 43 federal universities. This is despite the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari last February that ASUU members nationwide be paid. We call on the President to urge the Accountant General of the Federation to pay us immediately to avoid unpleasant consequences,” the statement read.
Recall that the national leadership of ASUU has repeatedly faulted the use of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, that the government has deployed in paying federal workers.
Their grouse is hinged on the irregularities in the system
Even, non-teaching staff who initially did not support ASUU on the matter and joined IPPIS are now lamenting their fate.