By Martin Nwoko
Staff of the Imo State University Owerri, in the early hours of yesterday barricaded the Senate building of the institution where the governing Council was to hold it’s first meeting with the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Peter Akah on the issue of nonpayment of salaries and pensions of retired staff who are finding it difficult to take care of themselves and families and had as a result of the delayed and outright refusal to pay led to the deaths of so many of their colleagues.
It was gathered that many of the university staff are yet to receive their salaries since February and some since July 2020 for no fault of theirs. These include members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and members of Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) IMSU branch, in spite of participating several verification exercises conducted by the state government.
The workers in registering their grievances with the government and the management of the institution were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions. Some of the placards read: save us before we die, 10 months now no payment to our pensioners, Council please bring back our autonomy, we say no to staggering payment, 10 months no salary is not fair and many other placards with different inscriptions to press home their demand.
While addressing their members, the Chairperson of NASU, in IMSU Mrs Eugenia Anoruo took time to explain her efforts and that of some other persons to ensure that all staff of the university were paid as and at when due but regretted that some top government officials who are in charge of payment of salaries are afraid to do the right thing in order not to lose their jobs stressing that they have written to the University Bursar to release the list of those who are yet to be paid in order to submit same to the government but all to no avail.
Contributing, a Senior Lecturer in the university who pleaded anonymity disclosed that he has not received his salary since July 2020 a situation that has made him unable to take care of his family needs and other responsibilities. He condemned the high level of insincerity on the part of the state government that announced to the world that they had paid all workers in the state when many have not been paid due to the staggering nature the present state government pays. He therefore called on the new Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Peter. Akah and the University Council to take urgent steps towards ensuring that all staff of the institution are promptly paid.