The non-academic unions in Nigerian universities have accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of hijacking the N23 billion released by the Federal Government for the part payment of the earned allowance owe the varsity workers.
Against this background, the three non-academic staff unions in the universities – the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), have insisted that their on-going strike would be prolonged until the N66 billion earned allowances, owed them are fully paid.
The General Secretary of NASU, ComradePeters Adeyemi, who spoke on behalf of NAAT and SSANU in Abuja on Thursday accused the Federal Government of insincerity and adopting a divisive approach to restore academic activities in the universities.
While demanding the immediate payment of the N66 billion, Adeyemi said that the N66 billion outstanding is not a big amount that cannot be settled within a few days for a serious government that is in a hurry for national development.
He said: “The government should do well by giving what belongs to the non-teaching staff to them so that there will be less money to steal. When the government refuses to pay workers entitlements, it unwittingly put the huge national resources in the hands of looters.”
Adeyemi added: “What is outstanding about the non-teaching staff is over N60 billion and we have communicated that to the government. It is a debt which they have admitted that they are owing. For us, that is not big money compared to what people are stealing in this country. When you don’t pay people what is due to them, you leave out the money into the hands of thieves.”
NASU stated that in collusion with the officials in the Ministry of Education, ASUU grabs 89 per cent, and left only 11 per cent for the remaining non-teaching staff unions.
“This gathering makes it the third time the council is converging on emergency to review development arising from the dispute over the disproportionate implementation of the N23 billion released by the Federal Government for the beneficiary stakeholders in the universities and inter-university centres.
“It is irrational for one out of the four unions to grab 89 per cent and wish 11 per cent for the other remaining non-teaching unions of NAAT, NASU and SSANU,” Comrade Godfrey Okeke, deputy president and chairman of the Universities Inter-University Centre, said.
He added: “JAC (Joint Action Committee) in its release of 19th December 2017 said the government had acknowledged the legitimacy of our grievance and assured of corrective measures which have lingered till now.”