Awka—THE Owerri zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, rose from its meeting in Awka yesterday, vowing to resist any move by proprietors of public –owned universities to cut the salaries of university lecturers.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, the Owerri zone ASUU, comprising Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli and Imo State University, Owerri, regretted that in spite of the fact that lecturers in Nigerian Universities were the least paid in Africa, they still suffer the problem of irregular payment of salaries and shortfall in salary provisions.
Chairperson of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture ASUU, Dr. Uzochukwu Onyebilama, who spoke on behalf of the ASUU coordinator in the zone, Professor Ike Odumegwu, said: “This ugly development of salary shortfalls started in 2015 and continued through 2016 till date. The statistics of the salary shortfalls in universities in the zone indicate that in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the shortfall increased from 5% in 2015 to over 13% in 2016 and has continued this year.
“For instance, in January 2017, Nnamdi Azikiwe University had a salary shortfalls of over N88 million and increased to over N170 million in February 2017.
“In the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), the shortfall rose from 10% in 2015 to over 19% in 2016. The shortfall for 2016 amounted to over N1 billion.
“In January 2017, the salary shortfalls in FUTO was over 15.5% which amounted to over N82 million. This shortfall further increased to 29.5% in February 2017 and amounted to over N157 million.
“The situation is not different in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), where staff were paid 75% of their net salary in January 2017.
“The shortfalls in staff salary in MOUAU for January 2017 amounted to over N111 million. In February 2017, staff were also paid 75% of their net salary, while the shortfall increased to over N136 million.
“In the state-owned universities in the zone, salaries are not paid as and when due. For instance, in Imo State University, Owerri, the December 2016 salary was paid by the end of January 2017, while that of January 2017 was paid in the first week of March 2017.
“In Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli, salaries are sometimes delayed for upwards of two months.”
He said that in addition to salary shortfalls, check-off dues of union members, staff cooperative contributions and other authorized third party deductions for creditors were not remitted.