The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Sunday accused the Nigerian government and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation of victimising its members and refusing to pay their outstanding salaries ranging between two and 10 months despite suspending its strike after agreeing to a "no-victimisation clause."
ASUU stated that while its members are back to their duty posts to work, the harsh economy, unpaid salaries, and non-refund of deducted check-off dues will affect productivity.
The Chairman of the union at the University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Akinwale, who stated this in Ibadan on Sunday, said the Nigerian government had refused to remit union deductions it made to the account of the union.
He alleged that the government was part of the government's plan to stifle the union.
The union warned that if pushed to the limit, withdrawal of work in the nearest future might be inevitable.
According to Akinwole, while the government is paying outstanding five months salaries for those on nominal roles at an agonisingly slow pace, over one hundred UI academic staff members are being owed salaries ranging between two and ten months.
He disclosed that those newly employed in February 2020 had not received any penny, making their families and dependants suffer because they maintained their stand to reject being enrolled on the IPPIS.
The ASUU boss stated the Muhammadu Buhari government has continued to show that it cannot obey the rule of law by continuing to deduct housing funds from ASUU members who have not subscribed to the scheme and also refused to refund same to respective accounts.
"On December 23, 2020, ASUU conditionally suspended (with effect from 12:01 am on Thursday, 24th December, 2020) its 9-month old strike action which it began on March 23, 2020, owing to the failure of the Nigerian government to address the outstanding issues as outlined in the collective bargaining agreements of 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019 freely reached and signed between the government and ASUU.
"The suspension of the strike was based on an agreement reached and a ‘Memorandum of Action ‘ signed in good faith between the government and the ASUU at the stakeholders’ meeting held on Tuesday, 22nd December 2020. A major common position agreed to (and expected to be respected) by the government and ASUU was that ‘nobody shall be victimised in any way whatsoever for his/her role in the process leading to the Memorandum of Action'.
"The agreement reached on the 22nd December 2020 imposed some obligations on both the government and ASUU. On the part of ASUU, the union undertakes to go back to the classrooms, laboratories, workshops, workstations, etc., to do the best for the students and the country. The government is to both federal and state is to sincerely fulfil their own part of the bargain, a major part which is the 'no victimisation clause'.
"While ASUU as a union and her members as individuals in various branches have remained faithful to this agreement by returning to classes and performing their respective duties, the federal government, true to type has reneged on its part contrary to FGN affirmation of its commitment to pay all withheld salaries of ASUU members who have not enrolled in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information system (IPPIS).
Three months after the suspension of the strike, thousands of ASUU members across various branches are still being owed salaries. While confirming that the government is defraying the generally withheld five months salaries at an agonisingly slow rate of one outstanding salary per month, the salaries of some members running to hundreds have been permanently and consistently withheld by the office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
"Officials of the OAGF keep adducing flimsy untenable reasons for the perpetual non-payment of salaries, demanding loads of paperwork and documents both from the union and the bursary units of the various universities as well as the university administration. The requested documents have consistently been provided on a monthly basis yet the salaries remain unpaid. In the University of Ibadan, March 10, 2021, 67 ASUU members that are on regular nominal payroll have their salaries ranging from two to ten months still unpaid as of March 10, 2020.
"Over 80 ASUU-UI members in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine have their medical allowances of over eight months still unpaid. Ten sabbatical lecturers, including an expatriate from Europe, are being owed salaries of between two and twelve months. Fifteen lecturers who resumed duty in the University of Ibadan on fresh appointments early last year have yet to be paid a dime thirteen months after taking up the jobs and discharging their duties.
"All these are a fallout of the union members not enrolling on the government IPPIS. This government has again reneged on its agreement with ASUU and can no longer be trusted. Since the suspension of the strike, three months ago, none of the issues in contention has been completely attended to.
"Despite the non-subscription nor registration of most ASUU members on the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme, the OAGF has failed not only to refund the illegally deducted NHF contribution from ASUU members' salaries since February 2020, the NHF deductions are still being made from the salaries of members."