The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said the Federal Government owes lecturers N124bn as earned academic allowances from 2013 to 2016.
This is in addition to another N495bn that had also accumulated as arrears.
Members of the Calabar zone of ASUU, at a press conference in Calabar, said the situation was already affecting the running of universities, warning that it could no longer guarantee safety on campuses as a result of “huge cloud of uncertainties.”
The union listed the uncertainties to include the non-implementation of the 2009 ASUU-Federal Government agreement and Memorandum of Understanding of 2013, non-release of the revitalisation fund for universities, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances and the payment of salaries in fractions since December 2015.
Others include frustration resulting from the application of the Treasury Single Account which they said was incompatible with the running of universities; as well as government’s unilateral proscription of the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination test.
The zone comprises ASUU members from the University of Calabar, University of Uyo, Cross River University of Technology, Akwa Ibom State University, Abia State University and Ebonyi State University.
Chairman of the UNICAL branch of ASUU, Dr. Tony Eyang, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues at a press conference in Calabar, said the numerous unresolved issues were capable of grounding educational system in the country.
He said, “Presently, a huge cloud of uncertainty hangs over the University system in our country due to a number of unresolved issues. The earned academic allowances being owed lecturers in all the universities between 2013 to 2016 has reached N124bn.
“You would recall that for six months in 2013 ASUU waged a struggle for the revitalisation of our universities through the implementation of the 2009 agreement. It is indeed depressing that there has been no indication of seriousness on the part of the FG to honour the MoU reached in November 2013 as a road map to the implementation of that agreement.
“This is in spite of the understanding demonstrated by the Union, which in our opinion, has been taken for granted. For instance, the funds for revitalization of Universities have not been released for some time now contrary to the Agreement, thus piling the arrears to N495bn.
“Another development is the inexplicable payment of salaries in fractions in federal universities since December 2015- a situation that has brought about a lot of frustration and embarrassment on our campuses. At best, government’s explanation for this unjust act has been cloudy.
“As it is, ASUU can no longer guarantee industrial peace on our campuses, as academic staff think government has taken them for a ride.”
Explaining the issue of TSA and proscription of post UTME tests, Eyang said the situation had made running of the system difficult and stripped universities of its autonomy.