The Vice-Chancellor Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) Distinguished Professor Onyemachi M. Ogbulu has appealed to Staff Unions of the University including the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT) to shelve any planned strike in the University but rather join hands to chart ways of keeping the University running at this critical times.
The Vice-Chancellor who made the appeal during an interactive meeting with the unions commended them for the support given to the administration from the time of his assumption in office till date adding that any action that will truncate the academic calendar of the University will result in going back to the era of accumulated salary arrears which has been significantly reduced by his administration.
He enumerated the challenges his administration inherited including 10 months salary arrears, unpaid bank loans, unremitted taxes, debts to contractors, backlog of subventions, pension arrears and others, stressing that his administration has made so much progress in handling these issues within one year and two months in office and these he said can only be sustained if academic activities continue to run uninterrupted.
According to him, “Our own problem is unique and peculiar to us hence we must analyze the situation and chart a way of tackling it” pointing out that salary payment is the number one priority of his administration while other issues will be handled step by step and one after the other as the system stabilizes.
On promotion, the Vice-Chancellor noted that the arreas of promotion for Teaching Staff till 2019/2020 has been cleared and that of Non Teaching staff is being harmonized to be at par with their teaching staff counterpart while approval has been given by the Governing Council on the issue of regularization of staff but the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike delayed the meeting of the A&P committee.
The Vice-Chancellor also informed the Union members that presently the University is engaging the House of Assembly on
a bill to make subventions a first line charge of any Government in the State and that will make subvention come as and when due if approved and implemented.
Professor Ogbulu decried the general insecurity in the Country in the midst of hard economic challenges and assured that Management with the support of the State Government has continued to increase their interventions and surveillance to ensure the safety of lives and property of staff and students of the University.
Contributing, the Chairman SSANU, Comrade Ojo Ezichi on behalf of the Unions appreciated the sacrificial efforts of the Vice-Chancellor and Management to sustain the University in the midst of obvious financial challenges but stressed that they came to express the grievances of members who are going through very difficult times and urged the Vice-Chancellor to do more to clear the outstanding salary arrears, domestication of the FG minimum wage f
in the University and thanked the Vice-Chancellor for the gradual payment of the cooperative deductions to staff but requested the unions be carried along as the payments are made.
In a vote of thanks, Chairman NAAT, Elder Ndimele Okoro appreciated the Vice-Chancellor and Management for the way they have steered the ship of leadership thus far and the entire staff of the University for their support and sacrifice.
The full complement of Management was present during the meeting.