Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has expressed dismay over the inability of the local chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the Nasarawa State University Keffi (NSUK), to pull out from the ongoing national strike action.
Engineer Sule made his feelings known when he hosted members the university’s Joint Action Committee, comprising the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), who were on a thank-you visit at the Government House, on Tuesday.
According to the Governor, based on the earlier understanding with the academic staff union, his administration may not be able to commit more resources, except if the NSUK ASUU returns to the class.
Engineer Sule expressed dismay that, after sticking out his neck to accommodate some of the demands of the NSUK ASUU, especially his decision not to envoke the no-work-no-pay rule, as well as agreeing to takeover the payment of salaries of staff of the university and the approval of N200m as part payment of staff accumulated earned allowances, the union refused to honour their part of the agreement by returning to the class.
He wondered why every time his administration was able to fulfil part of their demands, as condition for calling off the six months strike, the NSUK ASUU will renege and come out with further conditions.
The Governor said, with his private sector background, he cannot afford to be throwing money away in an unproductive environment.
We took one-fifth of the outstanding one billion naira outstanding earned allowances and we will pay N200m, on the condition you will go back. But if you don’t go back, I can’t be throwing money into unproductive ventures.
“I came from the private sector where people are productive. I can’t be throwing money into an unproductive environment. It just doesn’t make sense,” Engineer Sule stated.
Commenting on the call by members of the NSUK joint action committee for the Governor to ensure the payment of outstanding salaries of staff for the months of June and July, Engineer Sule said it was not the fault of government that NSUK staff are being owed two months salaries.
He explained that his administration has continued to remit its monthly subvention to the university but the university has failed to augment by generating internal revenue as a result of the ongoing strike.
“For us, as a state, we have continued to give you the normal amount that we have been giving you. But because the university couldn’t generate any internal revenue to compliment, that’s why you are two months behind. If the strike continues, it will may strect to three, four or even six months,” he stated.
The Governor therefore, used the opportunity of the visit, to call on the joint action committee, to appeal to ASUU to see reason and call of the ongoing strike action.
Engineer Sule assured that his administration will continue to take steps towards ensuring that NSUK remains amongst the best universities in the country.
Earlier, in an opening remarks, Chairman, Joint Action Committee of the Nasarawa State University Keffi, Comrade Simon Yakubu, said they were at the Government House, to appreciate the Governor for what he has been doing for the university.
Comrade Yakubu said, but for the fourth member of the JAC, ASUU, activities at the university would have been going on smoothly.
Members of the JAC particularly thanked the Governor for his initiatives in the educational sector of the state, especially the ongoing employment across all the tertiary institutions in the state.
Most significantly, the unions thanked Engineer Sule for agreeing to takeover the payment of salaries of the staff of the university, especially that they have continuously agitated for this for the past 13 years.
The JAC equally appreciated the Governor, for approving N200m as part payment of their earned allowances.
Comrade Yakubu said SSANU, NASU and NAAT agreed to called of their strike a month ago, having arrived at the understanding of the efforts of the state government within the prevailing circumstances.
He said the university is prepared to conduct it’s post UME test, as well as mobilise graduates of the institution for the National Youth Service Corps scheme, once ASUU calls of the strike.
The joint action committee also used the opportunity of the visit to place some of their pressing demands for the attention of the state government.
Some of these demands include, hundred percent taking over of payment of salaries by the state government, payment of two months outstanding salaries, implementation of consequential adjustment for minimum wage and infrastructural development amongst others.