The Federal University of Technology, Owerri chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has called on the Federal Government to release the seven months unpaid salaries of its members.
The Chairman, Dr. Chinedu Ihejirika, spoke in a communique he co-signed with the Secretary, Dr. Etienne Chinakwe.
In the communique made available to newsmen in Owerri on Thursday after a protest march by members of the Union, Ihejirika voiced ASUU’s rejection of what he described as the “casualisation of Academics through the pro-rata payment of half salaries to our members in October 2022”.
He argued that while the Union embarked on a strike for seven months, its members deserved their salaries, adding that the strike was only a legitimate tool to press home its demands and grievances.
According to him, the fate of any nation lies with its intellectuals, hence the need to preserve the future of great Nigerian children and the nation at large by paying prompt attention to the Union’s demands.
He added: “We urge government to stop forthwith, the weaponisation of hunger to whip Academics into submission and pay us all our withheld salaries spanning more than seven months. Strike all over the world is a legitimate tool to press home workers’ demands.
“We urge government to honour their agreements, stop the No Work, No Pay anti-labour rule and use the first ever developed, home-grown payment platform, known as the University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS), to pay University Teaching Staff.”
Speaking while receiving the Union in her office, Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nnenna Oti, assured the lecturers of her solidarity with ASUU and its legitimate demands.
Oti, represented by the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Prof. Godfrey Nwandikom, said that the demands would be conveyed to the appropriate authorities.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the Union chanted solidarity songs while carrying placards with inscriptions such as: We say no to casualisation and victimisation of lecturers; ASUU is fighting for the survival of Nigerian Universities; and Pay us our salary arrears.
NAN also reports that members of the Union have yet to receive salaries from March to September 2022 when a strike action grounded academic activities across universities in the country.