–      Consultant blames corrupt file

Lecturers and non-academic staff of Imo State University (IMSU) Owerri, who were last week, paid three months out of the four months salaries they were owed, have  lamented the almost 30% cut in their take home pay, while some were not paid at all, despite complying with the BVN verification and other demands which the consultant hired by the Hope Uzodinma led government to conduct and oversee the salary payment exercise claimed caused the delay in payment.

A staff of the university who pleaded anonymity told this reporter that, majority of those who were paid, had their salaries slashed by 30%, while some had theirs cut by 20%. “For instance, a Professor who usually earns Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N400,000) a month, was paid N350,000 while some Professors on the same salary grade level were paid N300,000. There are also others who claimed to have been paid in full”.

With this worrisome development, staff of the university are now wondering why they are being subjected to such avoidable suffering and hardship in addition to the harsh realities of the Covid-19 era and inspite of the fact that they have met all demands and provided every information required by the consultants, including the BVN verification which was initially said to be the cause of the delay in payment of salary.

The source also hinted that administrative and other activities in the institution are almost grounded, “because the management does not have imprest to run the place”.

He also posited that the Emeka Ihedioha led government, had in a desperate bid to get at and deal with some people perceived not to be in the good books of the administration, introduced the Single Treasury Account (TSA), which made it difficult for the management of the institution to access fees and other Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) with which to fund necessary academic and administrative programmes and activities. “For instance, the university cannot fund or undertake exchange programmes, what more hiring Adjunct lecturers, as has been the tradition to enhance optimal performance and academic excellence”.

He regretted that while IMSU was compelled to introduce and operate the TSA policy by the immediate past government, Adapalm, Imo Transport Company (ITC) and other government establishments did not operate the TSA and wondered why IMSU was singled out and mandated to operate the policy.

He urged the Governor to allow the school operate how it used to, because a university is unique and should not be run or administered like other establishments, otherwise the lecturers may be compelled to allow civil servants to run the institution and this will not be in tandem, with the goals, ideals and aspirations of setting up the ivory tower.

When contacted the State Accountant General, Mr Obieze, said that, “staff of IMSU have been paid while those who have issues are receiving attention and will be paid in due course”.

However, the consultant who was hired by the state government to compute and oversee the payment of salaries that has generated much controversy and outcry, claimed that the discrepancies, salary cut and outright non-payment was because the flash drive with which data was copied and collated that corrupted by virus.

Our reporter who visited IMSU to feel the pulse of the staff stated that, most of them who looked forlon, were lamenting their pitiable plight while the retirees who appeared crest-fallen gnashed their teeth, claiming that they were not paid anything to cushion the effect of the prevailing hard times.