Academic activities at the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU) with campuses in Mkpat Enin and Oruk Anam local government areas are set to resume following the suspension of a two-month strike by lecturers.
In a resolution reached at the end of a meeting convened by the state House of Assembly committee on education, involving the Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising all unions in the university, the management of the university, the ministry of education, and labour leaders, the lecturers agreed to suspend the strike.
Students of the institution had remained at home for about two months while the state government and lecturers remained at each other’s throats.
John Udo, the registrar of the university had in a press release mandated all staff to return to their duty posts by Monday, June 7, 2021, but this fell on deaf ears.
“The vice-chancellor has directed all staff members of Akwa Ibom State University to return to their duty posts by Monday, June 7, 2021, and that payment of salaries from the month of June 2021 will be based on “no work no pay” government policy.
“The vice-chancellor has appealed to all members of staff to comply accordingly,” the release said.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), AKSU chapter embarked on the strike to protest the non-payment of 75 percent of their salaries for 10 months.
In response to the issue, Governor Udom Emmanuel in a recent media interaction said that N329 million was being released every month to the management of the institution.
But ASUU-AKSU chairman, Ime Okop, said its members would remain on strike as long as they have not received payment alerts of their salaries and other entitlements, adding that the lecturers were not prepared to shift grounds on the matter.
Okop frowned at a situation where both the state government and the management of the university were trivialising the issue of education.
“What the governor went on air to say is not what we will contest; it is left for the management to explain. What we know is that the university has been receiving the sum of N250 million as monthly subventions as of 2019. So, if the state government has increased it to N329 million, it is left for the management to explain, and let us know when the amount was increased.
“We are asking for our salaries to be paid in full and other allowances. We have been receiving half salaries, percentage salaries, and you cannot tell which month you were paid. That they sent security men to forcefully open the gate would not solve the problem. Now that they have succeeded in opening the gate, would they also force us to resume lectures?” He queried.
It was gathered that before now, students were prevented from gaining access to the university by the aggrieved lecturers who barricaded the main entrance to the university.
But the resolutions now include immediate payment of three months backlog of 25 percent salary arrears to staff of AKSU for January, February, and March 2020, stoppage of payment of 75 percent salaries; and constitution of a visitation panel by the visitor of the university, Udom Emmanuel.