Why EBSU, ABSU staff not paid like others in public varsities - ASUU


Comrade Ikechuku O. Igwenyi is the Chairperson of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU in Ebonyi State University,  EBSU, Abakaliki. He writes on the current development in the Union in Nigeria.

Read him:

Man's inhumanity to humans: what a world? What a people? This is unbelievable but is happening before our eyes.

ASUU National embarked on a National strike and it has been observed by ALL THE PUBLIC Universities in the country.
Covid-19 came and all the schools in the country were closed including EBSU.

NCDC, WHO, Federal Minstry of Health and NUC came up with protocols that must be observed before schools reopen. None is in place in EBSU, yet they want to reopen the school and endanger the lives of our people, especially the elderly, weak and immunocompromised.

As schools were shut down in Nigeria, every staff of public institutions were paid their salaries regularly with some receiving palliatives except in Ebonyi State University and Abia State University. 

What we receive in EBSU are: 

a). threat to salary,

b). threat to sack and downsize staff strength by all means including invoking the medical Board interview to sack sick staff who were otherwise healthy when they joined the service,
c). denial of salary payment for about 5 consecutive months without apology.
d) forced amputation of salary by 20% for Covid-19 without the consent or approval of staff members.
e). imposition of a political group to decide and run the affairs of the University,
f). regular intimidation and lack of job security among the several "hot cakes" dished out to members of staff.

What a mighty and patient God we serve?

Every public University today supports the ASUU strike because the gains of negotiation with FGN except in EBSU where efforts are made to break up the Branch from National.
Meanwhile, out of the N200B released in 2013, EBSU got about N3.05b and since then, there has been other interventions including a very recent special intervention worth some hundreds of millions in the pipeline. What is most disheartening is that almost every structure in the University, laboratory equipment, lecture halls/theatres, ICT building, Hostels, classroom desks, office furniture, teaching aids, library, books and journals, vehicles, staff development, etc are in place, and will continue to be in place courtesy of ASUU struggle.
Yet, the people who benefit from these contracts are the same persons trying to frustrate and break the branch away from the national body.

What a world of irony? 

Every Federal and State Universities in Nigeria pay Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) since 2009 except the 5 State Universities from the wisest part of Nigeria (SE) including Ebonyi.
Every University in Nigeria promote their staff regularly except the 5 SE Universities, and the worse hit is EBSU where the Vice Chancellor will proudly tell staff that Promotion is not a right but a privilege to be enjoyed if there is need or chance to accommodate it. Yet we engage people who have been promoted from other institutions in several appointments (Adjunct and Sabbatical) subjecting EBSU staff to inferiority complex and untold hardship since research and publications to meet up with harsh promotion criteria is funded from same threatened salaries.

Sometimes, I think and believe that if men were God, some of us will  not have access to free air for how could a leader feel comfortable to wake and sleep every day, thanking the Almighty for the day spent, happy with himself and family, compel hungry, angry, starved, nutritionally deprived and immunological weak members to attend meetings, compeling us to resume duties when they know we are hungry, unable to feed our families, pay medical bills, pay social bills,  school fees, cannot afford transport to school all because we are deliberately owed about 5 months of salary simply out of ego and self pride or pity. Yet I was informed that the half a billion N500m) purported to have been given to PAY ALL OUTSTANDING SALARIES as a bailout grant has been heavily taxed to the extent that what the institution received was about N396.3m whereas the monthly wage bill of EBSU is about N380m. 
*Our Lord is Good.* 

Each night before I sleep, I wonder how such wicked people who starve workers, including very junior staff feel comfortable and happy cruising around with our public fund, become tyrants and enslave lecturers  because God gave them the opportunity to serve humanity and mankind.

How could they hear that staff members die, fall sick, are hungry, have become beggars, yet they have the courage to invite academic staf to a meeting and even dream of having matriculation and calling students back when they know that no academic activity will take place within this period. What have we done to deserve all these inhuman treatment for even slaves are treated with little dignity.

What kind of creatures do we have here?

Since God raises wicked rulers for the sins of the fathers, now is the time to pray to the Almighty to  forgive our parents for establishing EBSU in the first place and have mercy on us for choosing to teach/work in EBSU, despite the fact that some of us had no retirement  benefits such as pension and gratuity, with some stagnated and sacrificed promotions and services in participating in the development of our citizens in Postgraduate training and Work and Study programmes without payment of honoraria. It is so bad that even the pioneer  VC and wife are owed heavy outstanding pension and gratuity.

This is very unfortunate and I still wonder how parents would want their children to come back and meet hungry and angry lecturers in the class. Note that most of us have our children and dependents in EBSU and depend on salary to pay their fees, house rents, buy books and maintain their upkeep: from where?

I wonder if all that matters is for people to have their way through without considering the outcome in terms of attitude to work, interaction with students, psyche and attitude of workers towards students and general output.

There is need to relax our citadel of learning for maximum uptake and impact. *There cannot be effective learning outcomes in an environment of tension and insecurity.* 

My people, I get more worried that lecturers that support a total, comprehensive and indefinite strike will find time to send me notice and invitation to meetings and ask what to do. You can imagine what they have done to the integrity of my people. I hope this does not imply lack of self confidence for academics whose voices only brings words of wisdom. God forbid.

Well, my happiness is that the hand of the clock never stops. As it moves, it rolls events and sometime soon, this issues will be part of history and like I said sometime ago, I know those we shall remember when we sing our songs of joy or songs of sorrow.

We shall be alive and face the consequences of our actions and in inactions because  GOD IS WATCHING ALL OF US FROM A DISTANCE.

I hereby encourage members that it is darkest before dawn. Our employers and Management believed we are one month away from poverty and hunger but we have survived through several months of this civil war and calamity brought to us by those who should protect us. We shall survive and outlive them.

ASUU national has heard our cries and they will soon come down to address the matter.

United we bargain but divided we beg.

They may declare our positions vacant soon and pronounce sack as they have pronounced proscription but nothing can stop the tide of change blowing across the world over and EBSU cannot be the exception.

Dare to sustain the struggle, dare to win.

On Aluta we stand because an injury to one is an injury to all.

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