UNIABUJA crisis lingers as VC, ASUU trade words on withheld salaries

THERE appears to be no end in sight in the crisis involving the management of University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as both parties have continued to maintain their stands.

The vice chancellor of the University, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’allah, whose tenure would end this month, has been under attack by members UNIABUJA branch of ASUU since the move by the government to appoint Na’allah’s successor was rejected by the union.

ASUU members in the institution had argued that a substantive vice chancellor of the university could not be appointed in the absence of the governing council of the university.

They, therefore, rejected the advertorial for appointment of a new VC which was signed by the Minister of Education Professor Tair Mamman and for more than 42 days now, the lecturers have been on strike.

ASUU chairman, UniAbuja chapter, Sylvanus Ugoh, who was unhappy that his members could not get money to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir festival, because of non-payment of salaries, accused the management of withholding lecturers’ salaries.

He alleged that the university’s administration, on the influence of the VC, wrote to the Accountant-General of the Federation to stop ASUU members’ salaries to deter them and divert their attention from their legitimate struggle.

He, therefore, directed members of the Union to brace up by mobilising themselves in the weeks ahead.

The Union said the action by the authorities of the university which was meant to break its ranks by refusing to pay salaries had rather made it stronger.

Members of the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) who have been working despite the strike are also affected by the non-payment of salaries.

“All the authorities concerned know of this illegality. Branches are directed to mobilise themselves in the weeks ahead. For us in UNIABUJA, we have never been found lagging behind in any action. We are already standing gallant and mobilised,” he said.

Noting that members were already on the path of victory, he added that due to these prevailing harsh situations and without salaries, the congress will hold later in the days ahead.

“Right now we know the level of hardship our members are subjected to by denying them their legitimate salaries, even with the Eid Kabir Sallah. As for the issues in contention that led to the ongoing strike nothing has changed rather things are getting worse” he said.

Meanwhile, the vice chancellor of the University, Professor Na’Allah, in his reaction, dismissed ASUU claims, saying the management has approved payment of salaries  to all academic staff, and included, with magnanimity, those on strike who he said, deserve no salary because of the activation of  ‘No Work No Pay’ policy of the Nigerian government in the university.

Na’allah further noted that “the management of the institution was in contact with the government to inquire what was responsible for the delay, “and the information available to us is that it might be from a glitch in the Remita.”

The VC noted that the management is however surprised that the ASUU branch leadership which along with some of its members walked out on their students and have refused to work for more than a month now,  and “who ordinarily deserve no salary,  are the ones to first cry wolf and to blackmail the university.

“It is unfortunate and painful to the management that members of academic staff are subjected to this suffering, especially those who labour day and night to make life meaningful to their students.

“What is important to us, at the moment, is that the IPPIS has since confirmed that May 2024 Academic Salary has been released for payment and the continued delay now being experienced might be from the Remita and not from Management,” the VC said.

On Saturday, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and the Congress of University Academics of the University of Abuja lamented their unpaid salaries by the authorities of the institution.

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