ASUU Expresses Concern Over Withheld Salaries Of Members At UNIMAID, Umudike, Others - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Monday, August 31, 2020

ASUU Expresses Concern Over Withheld Salaries Of Members At UNIMAID, Umudike, Others

...Also Decries Alleged Unremitted Deductions By Office Of Accountant General Of The  Federation

-The Daily Crucible

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday expressed concern over the non - payment of members' salaries by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation(OAGF) following their refusal to enroll in the IPPIS platform.

 ASUU cited the University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, where five months salaries of members were withheld, allegedly,  by the OAGF and had not been paid as of 31st of August.

The Coordinator of the Lagos Zone of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, who disclosed this at the mini campus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University(OOU), Ago - Iwoye, Ogun State while addressing reporters, added that several academics in other Federal and State universities across the country were also experiencing withheld salaries of between two and six months.

Olusiji addressed the press in company of branch chairmen from the zone - including Dr. Joel Okewole (OOU), Dr. Adebayo Oni (Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta), Isaac Oyewumi(Lagos State University, Ojo), Tunji Ettu (Tai Solarin University of Education, TASUED, Ijagun) and Dele Ashiru of the University of Lagos. 

He also decried the non - remittance of Check - Off dues by the OAGF, alleging that it is both illegal and criminal to keep deducting check -off due since February this year without remitting same to the appropriate party, wondering who was carrying out the deductions and where the money deducted were kept.

The zonal Coordinator equally declared that the public universities in the country were not yet ready to re - open, despite calls on them by the National University Commission(NUC).

According to him,  no concrete steps had been taken by the governments in any of the nation's public universities to safeguard the health of their members and students from the COVID - 19 pandemic should the universities resume as directed by NUC.

He warned that it would be "suicidal" should the universities go ahead and resume in an environment lacking the basic facilities for  observing safe physical and social distancing on campuses amid the pandemic.

Prof. Olusiji maintained that even before the pandemic hit the country,  hostel accommodations and some lecture rooms in public universities were already inadequate and often led to congestion, fearing that social distancing would be difficult to achieve on campuses  if concrete steps were not taken to address the observed inadequacies before resumption.

He also lamented that years of neglect of both the education and health sectors in the country explained why the Nigerian universities could not participate effectively in the fight against the novel Coronavirus. 

He  said: "The response of the public universities to the call by the National University Commission for their readiness to reopen indicated that public universities are not ready. 

"Presently, hostel accommodations are inadequate, no facility on ground to carry out physical in large and crowded classes, water and electricity supply are not reliable etc. 

"Reopening tertiary institutions without taking concrete steps to address these issues would be suicidal. While government made arrangements for special bail out funds for airline operators and other private entities, no such arrangement was made for public universities.

"Therefore, government should be ready to take responsibility for any possible negative consequences after reopening of universities."

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