-As lecturers, Non-accademic Staff threaten strike action
Despite the perceived readiness of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) in Nigeria to call off their almost one year old strike action which coincide with the outbreak of the Covid19 Pandemic, those of the Imo State University (IMSU) Owerri, whether as students of lecturers may after all not call off their strike.
This is because there is looming threat by most lecturers at the Imo State owned University that even if ASUU orders them to return to the classrooms, they may not be willing to oblige.
The uncertainty hovoring in the air around Lake Nwaebere Campus of Imo State University sends signs of danger ahead for both the old students and those wishing to write the Post UTME into the University.
Sources at IMSU point to the inability of the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma to meet the financial obligations due the university academic and non-academic staff.
Among the grouse by the workers include, what is now nefariously and notoriously known as staggered payment of salaries, selective payment of monthly salary and outright non-payment of a good number of workers for no just cause. The situation at IMSU is so presently pathetic that most lecturers are threatening to abandon the employment since it is no more rewarding, satisfying and fulfilling. Those who are willing to continue stated equivocally that they cannot resume normal lectures if the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma fails to address their demands.
Speaking exclusively to the Nigeria Watchdog, the chairperson of IMSU’S Non-Academic Union (NASU) Comrade John-Anuruo Eugenia lamented her ugly experience. She told tales of woes and sorrow to the extent that she has not being paid salary since July 2020, something that is unheard of except perhaps in IMSU and Imo State for that matter.
The Nigeria Wachtdog was of the view that it could be punishment for her unrepentant and uncompromising stance that the Governor must fulfill his financial obligations to the staff of the University before they go back to work but on realizing that she is not alone, since many other workers have similar stories, it was assumed there is more to it meets the eye.
This obvious denial she reiterated, took root in 2015 when Owele Rochas Okorocha held sway and slashed dramatically, the monthly subvention usually released to the University for Salaries and overhead costs. The present administration has since its inception cancelled the idea of subvention by paying the salaries and pensions of all staff of the University.
When contacted,Engr. (Dr.) Luke Uzoigwe,the ASUU Chairman reminded our reporter that ASUU whether at IMSU or the Federation is still on strike, nationwide. He stressed that though, IMSU has her peculiarities, the lecturers are more concerned now with the prospect of ending the strike and going back to work in earnest. He also corroborated the lingering cases and complaints of staggered salaries, selective payment at all and called on the government to decisively address the issue before than get out of hand.