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ASUU, SSANU React Over Move To Pay CONUA Withheld Salaries


ASUU, SSANU React Over Move To Pay CONUA Withheld Salaries

Vanguard News

Another round of crisis is brewing in public universities, especially those owned by the federal government, as the FG moves to pay members of the Congress of University Academics CONUA, their withheld salaries and check off dues.

Promptly, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, have expressed disappointment with the action of the FG and described it as a sure recipe for disaster and chaos in the public university system.

A letter from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Department of the

Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System Department, with the Ref No: OAGF/IPPIS/1045/1/67 and

dated January 13, 2023, signed by Charles Wall, Director, IPPIS and sent to the President, CONUA was sighted by Vanguard on Sunday night.

With the title: “Re-Submission of University Academics (CONUA) membership list for the payment of withheld salaries and check-off dues”, CONUA was directed to submit all the necessary information that would facilitate payment of the withheld salaries.

The letter read: “I am directed to a knowledge receipt of your letter on the above subject matter dated 2nd November, 2022 in respect of payment of your withheld backlog of salaries and request you to provide soft copy of membership of CONUA across universities to enable payment as requested.

“Meanwhile, you may wish to forward the following details to facilitate seamless deduction and remittance of check-off dues.

“Evidence of registration, official account details of the union, membership list of the union signed by each member, percentage of deduction (check-off dues) amount to be deducted from each member, mode of remittance between the headquarters and local chapters.

“Please note that details of members which must always be hard and soft copies should also include individual IPPIS numbers for ease of identification. While we appreciate your understanding, kindly accept the assurances of the warm regard of the Accountant General of the Federation.”

Reacting to the development, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, wondered why the government is interested in causing chaos and stoking trouble.

According to him, the FG was only trying to put something on nothing.

“The question is, was CONUA in existence according to law in March up till September 2022? The union did not exist then, and how can the government now say it is recognising it retrospectively. Which check off dues are they going to pay them, for a period they were yet to be in existence and recognised by law?

“Also, which work did they do from March till the universities were reopened last October? We are watching and studying the situation and we will react appropriately, ” he said.

The National President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, noted with dismay that the government has introduced divide and rule tactic into the university system.

He said that SSANU followed all the due process as prescribed by Labour laws before embarking on the strike, adding that his union was forced as a result of the failure of government to go on strike.

Contacted on the matter, a member of the national leadership of CONUA, who craved anonymity, said it was only the National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, that could comment on the matter.

Efeorts to speak with Sunmonu were futle and he didn’t pick his calls too.

Recall that the four university-based unions, SSANU, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Non-Academic Staff of Allied and Educational Institutions, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, had last year, shut down public universities over the inability of the government to attend to their demands.

ASUU precisely withdrew its services on February 14, 2022 and was followed by NAAT after many weeks and then SSANU and NASU.

While SSANU and NASU called off their strike on August last year after they reached an agreement with the Federal Government, ASUU remained adamant until the intervention of the National Industrial Court, that ordered the striking lecturers to go back to their duty posts in October.

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