Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has condemned the nonchalant attitude of Gombe State government towards the state university and has threatened to embark on industrial action if the situation was not corrected.
Usman Yarima Abdullahi, the Chairman of Gombe State chapter of the union, said at a news briefing that the government was indebted to the staff to the tune of N400 million, balance of arrears of the Earned Academic Allowances, EAA, in spite of receiving the full payment of the bailout funds from the federal government.
He said agreement for payment of the excess workload, responsibility allowances and study grants also known as EAA was made since 2009 and it was expected it would be paid soon after the dispatch of the bailout funds sometimes in the months of August or September this year.
In addition to the non-payment of the above entitlements, the government of Gombe State is yet to show any commitment towards addressing and settling the claims of EAA for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 sessions that have since ended.”
“Undoubtedly, the union had demonstrated a great deal of understanding with the government, especially as regards the challenges of dwindling revenue in the country since the beginning of the year.
“This understanding explains the seeming quietness from the union to the non-payment of the arrears of the 2009-2013 earned allowances in the first quarter of the year as promised.”
“Given the intervention of the federal government in assisting the state governments to settle arrears of such outstanding entitlements, and the continuous lack of action on the part of government to reverse the deteriorating condition among staff, the patience of our members is stretched beyond limit.”
He said the problem of poor funding of the university had continued to tell on both the overhead costs and capital projects in the university to the extent that facilities for effective job performance were either nonexistent or inadequate.
“Capital projects such as construction of lecture halls/office blocks and better hostel accommodation for students are only being provided by federal government funded agencies.
“This state of affairs is distasteful because it shows that but for the active involvement of the federal government in funding state universities, Gombe State University may not have had most of its current facilities in place,” he said.
Abdullahi said the lukewarm attitude of the state government towards the entire issue constitutes a major stumbling block to the effective operations of the university.
He therefore, called on respected members of the public, religious and traditional leaders in Gombe State and beyond to “prevail on Gombe State government to do the needful and avoid a needless industrial unrest in Gombe State University.”