. . . Faults FG’s 2019 Sharing Formula
By Ozo Ray
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) have both rejected the federal government’s 80/20 sharing formula of the 25 billion Naira earned academic allowances for 2019.
The non-academic associations held that the proposed sharing formula which allegedly allocated 80% to the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria (ASUU) was an outright neglect and marginalization of the non-teaching arms of the universities in the country.
The chairperson of Nnamdi Azikiwe University branch of SSANU, Comrade Njideka Nwangwu, said the proposed sharing formula for the earned allowances and a host of other salient issues were clear portrayals of the breach of rights of non-teaching staff in Nigerian federal, state and inter-university teaching centres across the country.
She said there had been agitations across the country by the non-academic associations on a number of pivotal issues regarding what she outlined as re-negotiation of 2009 federal government’s agreement with the unions; the issue of earned academic allowances; university staff school; Nigerian University Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO); Integrated Payment and Personnel information System (IPPIS) and state universities.
Nwangwu pointed out that the unions frowned at the position of the federal government in the said matter, stressing that the non-teaching staff would not be cowed into accepting a paltry sum of 20% of the 25 billion Naira released by the government of the federation while the lion’s share was given to ASUU.
According to her, the federal government should not have released the money to the unions but should have released it to the universities for onward disbursement by the bursary departments of the universities which she believed had the data of each staff in relation to the earned allowance that accrued to the staff.
She also recalled that in 2017 the federal government committed the same blunder when it released about 23 billion Naira earned allowances and allocated about 18 billion Naira to ASUU, while the three non-teaching staff unions got the remaining meagre sum, adding that it took the agitations of the unions for the federal government to release another 8 billion Naira to the non-teaching staff of universities.
The SSANU NAU chairperson maintained that the JAC of SSANU and NASU met on Friday last week and demanded that the federal government should release 30 billion naira to the non-teaching staff of universities to offset arrears of earned allowances from 2009 to 2016.
‘We are still on protest level. The protest started on Monday this week. We are still at the branch levels and after the branch level, we will move to zonal levels and thereafter, to the national level which will be a three-day protest against the federal government.
‘If at the end of the protest which will serve as a warning and the federal government is still adamant, there will be a mother of all strikes to be embarked upon by the unions,’ she disclosed.
She further disclosed that the issue of welfare of staff of university primary schools was another pressing issue such that the unions had fought tooth and nail to ensure that staff whose names were allegedly removed from the payroll of the universities were re-instated, even though she expressed worry that some universities across the country had blatantly refused to implement the court decision that mandated them to do the needful.
Nwangwu opined that more worrisome was the fact that the federal government was not forthcoming to intervene in the matter and demand why some universities had decided not to recall some staff of the university demonstration schools back to their jobs and also have their names back into the payroll system of the universities.
On the issue of the University Pension Management Company, she said the Joint Action Committee of SSANU and NASU resolved that the IPPIS project should be embraced and that members of the unions would key into the scheme upon satisfactory resolution of the grey areas and that the peculiarities of the university system addressed by the technical committee set up to look into the issues.
The SSANU NAU chairperson expressed dismay at the deteriorating situations in many state-owned universities in the country. She however maintained that the Joint Action Committee of SSANU and NASU resolved that no efforts should be spared in ensuring that the dire status of state-owned universities in Nigeria were considered and their circumstances improved upon.