Labour Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Monday, issued a fresh ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay the outstanding 10-month arrears of its members’ salaries or be prepared for another industrial action.
The National President of the union, Prof Victor Osodeke, who spoke in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja, said ASUU members had gone through what he described as “deliberate move” by the Federal Government to intimidate and force them into joining the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System platform.
He said, “We are really surprised at the turn out of things; some of our colleagues are still being owed and we understand that the idea is to intimidate them so that many of them will go and register on the IPPIS.
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“Last month, in many universities, those who had registered on the IPPIS got letters that the government paid them two months’ salaries and they were ordered not to touch the money; when they got to the bank, many of them realised that they only got one month’s salary. Do you know what that means? It means they will not be paid in July and by that, they create more problems in the system.
“We have some of our members whose salaries are still being deducted; you have some of them going home with N26,000, some going home with N47,000; how do you want them to cope?
“Some are being owed for 16 months and nothing tangible has been done about it.
“We have put them (government officials) on alert and we have told them to resolve everything before our NEC meets next month to avoid a fresh crisis in the system.”
Osodeke also accused the National Information Technology Development Agency of conniving with the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to frustrate the verification of the University Transparency Account System Developed by ASUU for the payment of members of staff of the universities.
Similarly, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr Anderson Ezeibe, called on the Federal Government to pay its members the minimum wage arrears.
Ezeibe, who spoke in a separate interview with The PUNCH on Monday, said, “The Federal Government owes federal polytechnic lecturers minimum wage arrears for 10 months.
“At this point, it is necessary for them to start making moves on how to facilitate the payment.”
When contacted, the spokesman for the Ministry of Labour, Dr Charles Akpan, said, “I have not been briefed on the outcome, but you should know that work is still going on.”
Our correspondent also reached out to the spokesperson for the NITDA, Hadiza Yusuf, who said, “I might not have much information to give as regards this, but I will do well to ask the technical department and we will get across to you.”
The spokesman for the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Henshaw Ogubike, did not take his calls and did not reply to messages sent to him.